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:
While housing instability and homelessness certainly predate the pandemic, communities across the United States have learned a particularly tough lesson: these are no longer simply a household’s housing issue, they are public health concerns with implications for the entire community. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing disparities while also exposing the “hidden homeless.” Fortunately, it has also forced the public and private sectors into action, and led to consideration of the implications of failing to address the full housing continuum. To protect public health, the choice to “fix” the pre-existing conditions of housing instability and homelessness is up to each of us. To all of us.
It’s already 2022: we made it. Why look back now? It can seem that the sheer act of reflecting upon the past year is painful. Taking stock of what has come (and gone) is complicated. It may feel easier just to keep our eyes looking ahead, hopeful in the promise of a fresh start in the new year. But, what happens if we just jump ahead, with no critical assessment of our work during the previous year, as difficult as it may be?
While we may be able to move forward, we will never be able to achieve real change without also spending time taking stock. What did we do last year that worked? What did we do differently that worked? Of those new, different things, what can we continue? Even if we can, should we? What do we need to stop doing now, and/or forever?
Perhaps the better question is why are we so intent on getting back to the way things used to be? What is even meant by “a return to normalcy?” Some things may never be the the same. And that, especially in the case of housing instability and homelessness, may be okay. We can build upon what we have had to change, and continue to improve. Different can be better. In fact, it may be just the thing we need.
Courtney LaCaria 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.