Entries by Courtney Morton


Housing Counts: Housing Frames Matter

The planning activities for the 2020 Point-in-Time Count are underway. The Point-in-Time Count is more than a funding requirement; it serves as an important reminder that, behind every data point, is a person who matters. In 2018, Charlotte-Mecklenburg branded our Point-in-Time Count as Everybody Counts Charlotte to call attention to both: we must ensure that everyone is counted, because each individual counts. By enumerating the problem of homelessness, the Point-in-Time Count activities is also a call for action. The lack of affordable housing contributes to both housing instability and homelessness. In Mecklenburg County, there is a 27,022-unit gap for households at or below 30% of Area Median Income. Available housing that is affordable is the primary solution to reducing housing instability and ending homelessness. This year’s Point-in-Time Count will also spotlight solutions because, just as Everybody Counts, Housing Counts. This blog post shares new context about housing frames: the ways we frame solutions can influence the effectiveness of those solutions.

2020 Point-in-Time Count: Save the Date & Get Involved

The Point-in-Time Count will take place on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. This is the one night each year when our community comes together to survey each person experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness. It is also the time when we capture temporary and permanent housing capacity across the housing continuum. The Point-in-Time Count and Housing Inventory Count are activities required of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC) in order to receive federal homelessness funding assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Charlotte-Mecklenburg also goes above and beyond the minimum requirements to collect additional information to inform local decision-making. Mecklenburg County Community Support Services leads the Point-in-Time Count for the Continuum of Care. Although the Point-in-Time Count is not until January 2020, planning efforts must begin now. This blog post is the “kick-off” of these planning activities; and provides information on how agencies and individuals can get involved.

November 2019 Housing Data Snapshot Update

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) partners with homeless service agencies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to enter, collect, analyze, and report data on housing and homelessness in the community. As part of this work, CSS released the Housing Data Snapshot in June 2019. The Housing Data Snapshot provides regular updates for the One Number, “By-Name” List, and Coordinated Entry. This blog post highlights the latest changes and provides further analysis of the data added to the Housing Data Snapshot and what these changes mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

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.


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.