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.
IN THE REPORT
There are three main sections in the report, reflecting the separate systems within the housing continuum: housing instability, homelessness and stable housing. The report also provides key findings for each of the systems and concludes with “Connecting the Dots.” Highlights from each of the main sections are outlined below:
Housing instability is defined as situations where an individual or household experiences instability in their housing due to any of the following challenges: difficulty paying rent and/or experiencing housing cost burden; overcrowding; substandard housing; moving frequently; and/or facing eviction. Data in this section describes both the need and the interventions targeting this part of the continuum, which include: Area Median Income and Fair Market Rent; substandard housing; overcrowding; housing cost-burden for renter households; and analysis on the gap between trends in household income and rental rates in the community.
New in 2019: The 2019 report expands upon last year’s analysis on the rental mismatch to include all of Mecklenburg County. The rental mismatch analysis helps visualize the gap in affordable housing units by area median income. Understanding where the largest gaps exist is critical to target community resources and effectively address the shortage of housing.
Homelessness is defined as when household lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, which can include doubling up; staying week to week in hotels/motels; staying in a shelter and/or transitional housing facility; experiencing unsheltered homelessness; exiting an institutional setting where a household who had previously resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation temporarily resided; and/or fleeing domestic violence. The definition of homelessness varies by funding source. Data in this section describes both the need and interventions targeting this part of the continuum, which includes: System Performance Measures; Point-in-Time Count; trends in capacity and utilization; Coordinated Entry; and the number of McKinney-Vento homeless students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
New in 2019: The 2019 report debuts the “One Number,” which is intended to be the number that reflects how many people are homeless in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Whereas the Point-in-Time Count number provides a one-night snapshot, the One Number, which is generated from HMIS, provides an estimate across the full year. The One Number will continue to be updated regularly via the Dashboard.
Stable Housing is defined as when a household is in fixed, safe, adequate housing in which they are spending less than 30% of their income on housing-related expenses. Data in this section describes both the need and interventions targeting this part of the continuum, which include inventory for permanent housing subsidies and subsidized developments.
New in 2019: The 2019 report features data from the National Housing Preservation Database, which was developed to help preserve affordable, federally-funded, public housing stock. The report will outline how many affordable rental units with federal subsidies will expire in the next 5 to 20 years. In order to effectively address the affordable housing shortage in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, it is important to know how many units are at risk of being lost in addition to the gap that currently exists.
The Housing Instability and Homelessness Report is the only community housing report that combines all data on housing and homelessness across the continuum. Housing Instability, Homelessness and Stable Housing each comprise their own ecosystem and, when considered together, are a part of a larger ecosystem. It is important to understand each one separately as well as how they fit within the larger system.
Next’s week blog will discuss the new report, key findings and what it means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Courtney Morton coordinates posts on the Building Bridges Blog. Courtney is the Housing & Homelessness Research Coordinator for Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. Courtney’s job is to connect data on housing instability, homelessness and affordable housing with stakeholders in the community so that they can use it to drive policy-making, funding allocation and programmatic change.