Entries by Courtney LaCaria

A Home for All Strategic Framework: What’s the Cost? Part 1

Released in January 2022, A Home for All: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Strategy to End and Prevent Homelessness – Part 1: Strategic Framework reflects the community’s work during the past year to develop a comprehensive, transformative strategy to address both housing instability and homelessness. As the first document to be released from this effort, the Strategic Framework provides the roadmap for the work ahead. The framework serves to outline the vision and major objectives across each of the following nine areas: prevention; shelter; affordable housing; cross-sector supports; unified policy advocacy; coordinated funding alignment; innovative data and analytics; communications; and long-term strategy. Previous blog posts have plunged into the recommendations of the four “what” workstream recommendations that correspond to a part of the housing continuum in the Strategic Framework: prevention; shelter; affordable housing; and cross-sector supports. The Strategic Framework did not include an itemized list of expenditures nor a big-ticket funding request of any body. This was absolutely deliberate. Funding recommendations will ultimately be offered as part of the implementation plan. Of course, however, one of the biggest topics of discussion has been, and will continue to be: “What does it cost to end and prevent homelessness?” Other relevant questions include, “Who is/will be on the hook?” “Is this a $50 million problem; a $250 million issue; more?” “Is this going to be advanced as a one-time ask?” “What is the annual cost to sustain these efforts?” This week’s blog is the first in a two-part series focused on inquiries like these. To answer, we must first explore what goes into calculating the cost to end and prevent homelessness; why coordinated funding alignment is absolutely necessary; and what other communities are expending on similar efforts. Finally, the two-part blog series will address what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Housing & Homelessness Continuum Data Update – March 2022

Launched last year, the Housing & Homelessness Continuum Data Update is one part of the continuous improvement program supporting our progress from a focus on the Point-in-Time Count, One Number, and other disparate data sources; to reliance on a more comprehensive and inclusive data set that reflects the full continuum of need, from housing instability to homelessness. The One Number is a monthly census that includes all sheltered, and a portion of unsheltered, homelessness.  The One Number has itself been subject to continuous improvement methodologies. However, even with the advances made to enumerating homelessness using the One Number, there remain many households who experience housing instability and homelessness but who are not captured in the data inputs. It is critical to identify the households “in the gap” to both understand the full need for services, and to construct effective solutions to address these needs. This shift is also articulated as a need within the A Home for All Strategic Framework: identifying and closing the remaining gaps in data collection and reporting across the full housing continuum. To that end, this week’s blog will provide the latest updates regarding both housing instability and homelessness for the data sources we currently have; and highlight the areas in which gaps still exist; as well as the work underway to address those gaps. Finally, the blog will share what the latest trends show, and what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

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A Home for All Strategic Framework: Deep Dive #4 – Cross-Sector Supports

Released last month, A Home for All: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Strategy to End and Prevent Homelessness – Part 1: Strategic Framework reflects the community’s work during the past year to develop a comprehensive, transformative strategy to address both housing instability and homelessness. As the first document to be released from this effort, the Strategic Framework provides the roadmap for the work ahead. The framework serves to outline the vision and the major objectives across each of the following nine areas: prevention; shelter; affordable housing; cross-sector supports; policy; funding; data; communications; and long-term strategy. While any one area of impact and intervention can help chip away at the gaps, the real work must be done on the sum rather than the parts. At the same time, it is essential that we understand each individual part so that we can best position them to complement each other and function effectively as a system. This week’s blog is the final in a new series that seeks to unpack each of the four impact areas in the Strategic Framework aimed at addressing a part of the housing continuum: prevention; temporary housing; affordable housing; and cross-sector supports. This blog is focused on cross-sector supports, covering what they are, why they are important, what the recommendations in the Strategic Framework entail, and ultimately, what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Housing & Homelessness Continuum Data Update: February 2022

Last year, the Building Bridges Blog launched a new, monthly data update: the Housing & Homelessness Continuum Data Update, which is intended to be part of our continuous improvement program. The Housing & Homelessness Continuum (HHC) will progress the community from a focus on the Point-in-Time Count, One Number and other disparate data sources to reliance on a more comprehensive and inclusive data set that reflects the full continuum from housing instability to homelessness. The One Number is a monthly census that includes sheltered and a portion of unsheltered homelessness.  The One Number has also been subject to continuous improvement methodologies. However, even with the advances made to enumerating homelessness using the One Number, there are still many households who experience housing instability and homelessness and who are not captured in the data inputs. It is critical to identify the households “in the gap” to both understand the full need for services, and to construct effective solutions to address these needs. This approach is also called out as a need in the A Home for All Strategic Framework: identifying and closing the remaining gaps in data collection and reporting across the full housing continuum. To that end, this week’s blog will provide the latest updates regarding both housing instability and homelessness for the data sources we currently have; and highlight the areas in which gaps exist as well as the work underway to address those gaps. Finally, the blog will share what the latest trends show, and what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

A Home For All Strategic Framework: Deep Dive #3 Affordable Housing

Released last month, A Home for All: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Strategy to End and Prevent Homelessness – Part 1: Strategic Framework reflects the community’s work during the past year to develop a comprehensive, transformative strategy to address both housing instability and homelessness. As the first document to be released from this effort, the Strategic Framework provides the roadmap for the work ahead. The framework serves to outline the vision and the major objectives across each of the following nine areas: prevention; shelter; affordable housing; cross-sector supports; policy; funding; data; communications; and long-term strategy. While any one area of impact and intervention can help chip away at the gaps, the real work must be done on the sum rather than the parts. At the same time, it is essential that we understand each individual part so that we can best position them to complement each other and function effectively as a system. This week’s blog is the third in a new series that seeks to unpack each of the four impact areas in the Strategic Framework aimed at addressing a part of the housing continuum: prevention; temporary housing; affordable housing; and cross-sector supports. This blog is focused on affordable housing, covering what it is, why it is important, what the recommendations in the Strategic Framework entail, and ultimately, what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

A Home For All Strategic Framework: Deep Dive #2 – Temporary Housing

Released last month, A Home for All: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Strategy to End and Prevent Homelessness – Part 1: Strategic Framework reflects the community’s work during the past year to develop a comprehensive, transformative strategy to address both housing instability and homelessness. As the first document to be released from this effort, the Strategic Framework provides the roadmap for the work ahead. The framework serves to outline the vision and the major objectives across each of the following nine areas: prevention; shelter; affordable housing; cross-sector supports; policy; funding; data; communications; and long-term strategy. While any one area of impact and intervention can help chip away at the gaps, the real work must be done on the sum rather than the parts. At the same time, it is essential that we understand each individual part so that we can best position them to complement each other and function effectively as a system. This week’s blog is the second in a new series that seeks to unpack each of the four impact areas in the Strategic Framework aimed at addressing a part of the housing problem: prevention; temporary housing; affordable housing; and cross-sector supports. This blog, which is focused on temporary housing, covers what temporary housing is (and isn’t), why it is important, what the recommendations in the Strategic Framework entail, and ultimately, what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

A Home For All Strategic Framework: Deep Dive #1 Prevention

Last week, A Home for All: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Strategy to End and Prevent Homelessness – Part 1: Strategic Framework was released. The Strategic Framework reflects the community’s work during the past year to develop a comprehensive, transformative strategy to address both housing instability and homelessness. As the first document to be released from this effort, the Strategic Framework provides the roadmap for the work ahead; serving to outline the vision and the major objectives across each of the following nine areas: prevention; shelter; affordable housing; cross-sector supports; policy; funding; data; communications; and long-term strategy. The Strategic Framework is only one part of the overall strategy, but perhaps the most important. This is why 9 workstreams held standing meetings, and over 250 individuals in the community were engaged directly.  A framework explains what we are doing, how we expect to do it, and how we will know if we did what we said we would. It took a year to develop, but all of that time was needed in order to meet the goal of ending and preventing homelessness and ensuring that everyone has access to affordable housing and the resources to sustain it. Addressing the interrelated problems of housing instability and homelessness requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach, with a focus on changing systems and structures. While each individual area of impact and intervention can help chip away at the gaps, the real work must be done on the sum, rather than the parts. At the same time, it is essential that we understand each individual part so that we can know how to best position them to complement each other and function effectively as a system. Therefore, the purpose of this new blog series is to unpack each of the four impact areas in the Strategic Framework aimed at addressing a part of the housing problem: prevention, shelter, affordable housing and cross-sector supports. This week’s blog is focused on the area of prevention, including what it is, why it is important, what the recommendations in the Strategic Framework entail, and ultimately, what all of this could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

One Number Update: Inactive Policy Update

Mecklenburg County Community Support Services first released the “One Number” in 2019 as part of the annual Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. Since that initial release, the One Number has become the “go-to” number for the count of people who are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The One Number is generated from a By-Name List within the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). It captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter (ES); Transitional Housing (TH); Street Outreach (SO); Permanent Housing (PH) (if there is no move-in date to housing yet); and Coordinated Entry (CE) programs in HMIS. The One Number includes both total sheltered homelessness and a portion of the individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, the One Number can be broken down by both household composition and population type; elements include single individuals, families, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people experiencing chronic homelessness.  The Housing Data Snapshot highlights inflow to (Newly identified, Returns from Permanent Housing, Returns for Inactivity) and outflow from (Exit to Permanent Housing, Exit to Inactivity), homelessness. By comparing One Number data over time (including by household composition or by inflow/outflow), the community can identify trends.  Once identified, these trends can then inform policy, programming, and funding decisions. This week’s blog post provides the most recent One Number policy and data updates; the latest analysis; and what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It – The Top Ten (Posts) of 2021

During 2021, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard published 49 blog posts covering an array of topics, including new system-focused efforts in the community to address homelessness; combatting myths and misconceptions that stall progress; new report releases (and what they mean for the community); and local data and trends information. Throughout the year, more than 21,400 individuals accessed the Dashboard; this was nearly double the amount from the year prior. There were over 56,000 pageviews as a result. In case you missed any of it, this first blog post of 2022 is dedicated to the top ten posts (as measured by discrete views) from 2021. Below are summaries; links to the “top ten” posts; and the “so, what” for Charlotte-Mecklenburg to consider as we forge ahead into 2022.