Entries by Courtney Morton

In 2018, Housing Remains Out of Reach for Many, Part 2.

Last week’s blog was dedicated to the release of new data in the 2018 Out of Reach report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The blog discussed the need for more housing assistance, including from the private sector to decrease housing costs and close the gap. This week’s blog takes on the second part of the Out of Reach Report: the problem of low wages, the growth of low wage work and need to address wages in addition to housing to close the gap. 

Why the Housing Inventory Count Matters: A Point-in-Time Count Reflection

The Point-in-Time Count captures two important numbers: the number of people experiencing homelessness on one night and the number of beds or units available to temporarily and permanently house them. That second number – the number of beds and units – is called the Housing Inventory Count. It is a number that is critical to understand trends and progress in the work to end and prevent homelessness. It is also often left out of the conversation. When we look at the Point-in-Time Count numbers, we must consider the change in capacity, too.

Housing Counts, Everybody Counts: The 2018 Point-in-Time Count

The night of the 2018 Point-in-Time Count was January 31. Since January 15, volunteers have been completing surveys with people experiencing homelessness in emergency shelter and transitional housing. On Thursday morning, February 1st, volunteers go out into the streets and camps and other places unfit for human habitation in order to survey people experiencing homelessness outside. The Point-in-Time Count can be so much more than a census. It is an opportunity for us to lift up the voice of each and every person and family that is experiencing homelessness. We can do this by integrating what we learn from individual stories as well as the the data we collect to inform local decision-making around housing and homelessness. 

Behind The Numbers: The People & Parameters of the Point-in-Time Count

The night of the 2018 Point-in-Time Count occurs on January 31, 2018. This is when Charlotte-Mecklenburg counts the number of people experiencing homelessness in emergency shelter, transitional housing and on the streets. In 2017, that total was 1,476. The Point-in-Time Count helps communities like ours understand and describe the scope of homelessness on one night — the number and the characteristics. When we compare that number year over year and combine it with other performance data, we can better understand whether we are making progress in the work to end and prevent homelessness.

There are a number of changes to the 2018 Point-in-Time Count — some are changes required by the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and some are changes initiated from our community. Learn more here.

Not Quite a Year in Review

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard was released four months ago on August 21st. Currently, the Dashboard has data, local and national research, stories and a weekly blog. The goal of the Dashboard is to create a one-stop-resource for all housing and homelessness information in the community that anyone can access and use. Since its release in August, the Dashboard has been visited over 13,500 times. Taking out the initial release days when traffic was high, the Dashboard is visited on average about 100 times a day.

The Longest Night of the Year

Yesterday – December 21 – was the winter solstice: the shortest day and the longest night of the year in Earth’s northern hemisphere. It also signals the official start to the winter season, although cold weather has already come to visit Charlotte-Mecklenburg. December 21 was also National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, a day to remember people in communities across the United States who have died while homeless in the past year. On November 16, Charlotte-Mecklenburg remembered over 50 individuals who died in the past year. There were 28 people who were homeless when they died.

The Gift of Time: Point-in-Time Count 2018

W. T. Purkiser wrote, “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, when we are reminded of blessings like family, friends, food and fellowship, Purkiser’s wisdom to consider how we use those blessings is important, especially as we think about our gift of time. How will you spend your time in the final months of 2017 and what might you do differently in 2018? As you ponder, here’s an option to consider in 2018.