Housing & Homelessness Research Coordinator, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services
Mary Ann Priester
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services
Community Support Services partners with homeless service agencies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to enter, collect, analyze and report data on housing and homelessness in the community. This includes regular, in-depth review of by-name lists in order to ensure that we understand the need and follow up with each person who has engaged the homeless and housing system.
This blog post highlights the release of a new Housing Data Snapshot page, which provides regular reporting on three critical data points: One Number, By-Name List Movement and Coordinated Entry.
The One Number is a count of the total number of individuals and households within one list who are experiencing homelessness and in need of housing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The number is generated from data in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and includes single adults, youth, veterans, chronic homelessness and individuals in families with children. Whereas the Point-in-Time Count provides a one-night snapshot of the number of people experiencing sheltered and unsheltered homelessness, the One Number provides an accurate picture of who is experiencing homelessness across the community. The One Number will be released for the first time in the 2019 State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report. After the initial release, the One Number will be updated monthly on the Snapshot.
BY-NAME LIST MOVEMENT
The By-Name List movement provides a closer look at the inflow and outflow of individuals experiencing homelessness. Currently, Charlotte-Mecklenburg has a by-name list for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and veteran experiencing homelessness. This data is reviewed and updated monthly. The number of individuals who remain homeless and who have been housed are featured at the top. A table shows the breakdown of the monthly inflow and outflow; as new data is added each month, historical data will continue to be available. The raw movement data can be downloaded in excel by clicking Download Data at the bottom of the chart. In addition, a visualization provides a way to see and understand the movement of data, including how individuals enter or return to the homeless services system and how individuals exit to housing or other destinations.
Coordinated Entry data is provides information on the individuals and households seeking housing assistance in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Data is updated quarterly and includes:
- Number of calls to NC 2-1-1 for housing assistance
- Number of referrals to an in-person Coordinated Entry assessment from households who called NC 2-1-1 and were at-risk of or currently experiencing homelessness
- Number of households who received an in-person Coordinated Entry assessment
In order to effectively address housing instability and homelessness, we must understand the problem. Data provides us with a tool to do this. The data points on the new Housing Data Snapshot page cover three categories of available data to understand need and demand for housing assistance.
When shared together, these data points describe what homelessness looks like in the community. Click the circle on the top right hand corner of the snapshot page to download a PDF of the page or share on social media.
When used effectively, these data points can inform decision-making around housing and homelessness. Working groups dedicated to reducing inflow and increasing outflow among chronic and veteran homelessness meet regularly to brainstorm and test methods that can create positive change. This work highlights the connection between entering data and using data; it is vital to focus on both to ensure that the community has quality, relevant data and is putting it to use.
It also reminds us why: behind each data point is a name, a person, and an urgent need for housing.
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.
Mary Ann Priester is the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Administrator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC). She provides data quality, security, and privacy oversight for the local HMIS system and technical support and training to 25+ agencies that serve individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Mary Ann also oversees data collection for the Point-in-Time Count.