Entries by Courtney Morton

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New Report Released on Prevention Assistance

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services releases today, October 14, a new report: Launch Upstream: Homelessness Prevention in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The first community report on prevention assistance in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the report provides a comprehensive look at the homelessness prevention continuum as an important catalyst within the Housing & Homelessness Ecosystem. This blog post will provide an overview of what is included in the report, why it matters and how Charlotte-Mecklenburg can use the report to address housing instability and homelessness.

New Report Released: 2019 State of Housing Instability & Homelessness

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services released today (September 26) the annual Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. The Housing Instability and Homelessness Report is the only community housing report that combines all data on housing and homelessness across the continuum. This report is part of the Housing Instability & Homelessness Report Series, which is produced by UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and funded by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. This blog post describes key findings from the report and what it means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

COMING SOON: THE 2019 HOUSING INSTABILITY & HOMELESSNESS REPORT

Next week, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services will release the annual Housing Instability & Homelessness Report, intended to provide data across the housing continuum in the community. This report is part of the Housing Instability & Homelessness Report Series, which is produced by UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and funded by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. Now in its second year, The Housing Instability & Homelessness Report has been updated to align with the structure and definitions outlined in the recently released Ecosystem. In addition, new data has been added within each section of the continuum. This blog post highlights what to expect, including the new data and features for the 2019 report.

Why An Ecosystem Matters to Charlotte-Mecklenburg

An Ecosystem describes a group of interconnected elements both individually and by their interrelationships in a defined area.  The typical ecosystem is a feedback loop, wherein dependencies and other conditions stressing one group can stretch an entire system to the breaking point.  Observing, defining, and quantifying the discrete elements; cataloging their interconnectedness; and standardizing the tools for studying and evaluating the system is the only way to ensure the system is fully maximized for efficiency and effectiveness. To that end, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) in partnership with UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, is producing the Housing & Homelessness Ecosystem of community providers as a first step in what is envisioned as creating a culture of continuous improvement.  In order for the Ecosystem to be meaningful to those observing it (such as funders) and credible to those within it, certain things must be accomplished to establish a baseline.  These components include standardized definitions; identified roles and responsibilities; quantified capacities; and named funding sources.

Why a System View is Critical for Everyone

To effectively end and prevent homelessness requires a system-wide, coordinated community response.   Resources must be aligned under a shared strategic vision. The Building Bridges Blog post in October 2018 described some of the conditions necessary to facilitate an optimal community system: “In order to shift toward a new way of operating, it is important to reframe how we view the system, how we fund programs, and how we match resources to need across the full spectrum of housing needs.” This blog post will discuss in further detail the first component: how we view the system.

Why Context is More Critical than Content: The Point-in-Time Count as a Part of the Whole

Last week’s Building Bridges blog post provided information about the numbers used to describe homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, including the Point-in-Time Count.The 2019 Point-in-Time Count numbers will be released in late summer as part of the 2019 State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. This week’s blog post will cover the Point-in-Time Count in more detail, including why the numbers are reported with other data on housing and homelessness.

Describing Homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg: The Numbers and What They Mean

Courtney Morton

Housing & Homelessness Research Coordinator
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services
Mary Ann Priester

HMIS Administrator
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. As with all Continuums of Care (CoC) across the country, Charlotte-Mecklenburg recently submitted our 2019 Point-in-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count data to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). HUD reviews all CoC submissions and, once the data is finalized, reports it to the U.S. Congress through publication of the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR). Charlotte-Mecklenburg combines the HUD-mandated Point-in-Time Count data with other housing and homelessness information in a locally-generated annual report. The State of Housing Instability and Homelessness, released in the summer, shares the metrics which have been identified by stakeholders in Charlotte-Mecklenburg as most relevant to the work to end and prevent homelessness.

This blog post will cover some of the key numbers that are used to describe homelessness, what the numbers mean, and why they matter. In addition, this post will introduce a new number that will be included in this year’s report.

Aligning Efforts on Affordable Housing & Homelessness, Part 2

This post is the second in a three-part series that will provide an overview of the strategies presented in the February 2019 report: Aligning Affordable Housing Efforts with Actions to End Homelessness by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The report calls for action alignment across these areas.This blog post will provide an overview and analysis of the middle three strategies as well as what it means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Aligning Efforts on Affordable Housing & Homelessness

The solutions for ending and preventing homelessness and reducing housing instability are the same: permanent, affordable housing. Importantly, failure to address one area impacts the other: if enough affordable housing is not available, shelters cannot clear out beds for people who need them. People facing housing instability who then lose their housing have nowhere to go; families often must separate to find temporary shelter. Therefore, it makes sense that efforts focusing on homelessness, housing instability and affordable housing work together in order to maximize results. This post is the first of a three-part series that will provide an overview of the strategies as well as how they might apply within our local context.