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” for the count of people who are experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The One Number is found on the Housing Data Snapshot, a hub for the latest information related to housing and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Generated from a By-Name List within the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the One Number captures the number of people enrolled in Emergency Shelter; Transitional Housing; Street Outreach; Permanent Housing (if there is no move-in date to housing yet); and Coordinated Entry projects in HMIS.
The One Number includes both 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 One Number can also be analyzed by inflow to, and outflow from, 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 interventions. To read more about how the One Number works, click here.
We are excited to share that, thanks to the work of the HMIS Team from Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, in addition to disaggregated data by race, ethnicity and age, we now have disaggregated data by gender, beginning with data from the month of September 2021. This week’s blog post provides an overview of the most recent One Number update, including the new disaggregated data by gender; latest trends and analyses; and what this means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
LATEST DATA & TRENDS
As of October 31, 2021, there are 3,171 individuals experiencing homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. This total includes 2,051 single individuals (of which 124 are unaccompanied youth); and 355 families (comprised of 1,158 people). Included in the total of 3,171 individuals are 197 homeless Veterans, and 493 individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness.
To view the historical data, please click here.
Considering inflow (into homelessness) and outflow (out of homelessness), here are some noteworthy trends:
- Despite the slight decreases observed between January and June 2021, there has been a 57% (or 1,146 person) increase in overall homelessness since June 2020. As context, it is important to note that, during this period and in response to COVID-19, the community’s temporary shelter capacity has increased; this added capacity includes the provision of hotel rooms as shelter. This data clearly reflects the ongoing need for housing assistance resulting from the fallout of the pandemic.
- In October 2021, 507 individuals entered homelessness (inflow) and only 342 exited (outflow). Of the 507 individuals entering homelessness, 78% (393) were newly identified, whereas 9% (48) represented returns to homelessness from permanent housing and 13% (66) returned from an inactive status. Of the 342 individuals exiting homelessness, 38% (131) moved to permanent housing and 62% (211) exited homelessness to an inactive status, which means that they had not been engaged in services for the previous 90 days.
- Between September and October 2021, change in homelessness varied among all types of household composition and categories: the number of families increased by 88; the number of single individuals increased by 118; and unaccompanied youth decreased by 9. In addition, the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness decreased by 4; and people experiencing chronic homelessness decreased by 26 individuals. Finally, the number of days it takes to exit homelessness into housing increased from 498 days to 585 days. It is important to note that this number reflects an average that includes long-stayers and people experiencing chronic homelessness. The number of days has not been lower than 150 since March 2020.
- According to the latest One Number data, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, individuals who identify as Black/African American continue to experience homelessness at rates much higher than their proportion of the Mecklenburg County population (74% vs. 33%) while individuals who identify as White, non-Hispanic experience homelessness at a rate much lower than their prevalence in the population (13% vs 47%). Individuals who identify as Hispanic/Latino have a prevalence of 4% in the homeless population but comprise 14% of the Mecklenburg County population; this reflects a possible underrepresentation of the people who experience homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and identify as Hispanic/Latino.
- According to the latest One Number data, disaggregated by age, the largest cohort of all individuals (47%) are between the ages of 25 and 54. For families experiencing homelessness, 61% of the individuals are children (age 0 – 17); 7% are youth (age 18 – 24); 30% are adults (age 25 – 54); and 2% are older adults (age 55+). For single individuals experiencing homelessness, 6% are unaccompanied youth (age 18 – 24); 57% are adults (age 25 – 54); and 33% are older adults (age 55+).
NEW DISAGGREGATED ONE NUMBER DATA ON GENDER
One Number data disaggregated by gender is broken down into the following categories: female; male; transgender; no single gender; and client questioning (definitions are provided below the chart). There is also data on the number of clients who refused to provide a response and if data was not collected. In addition, this data is presented as an overall total (with all populations); families; and single individuals. This is important because the gender distributions are different for single individuals and families.
Below is a chart with data from September and October 2021 by household type:
Clients who live or identify as female.
Clients who live or identify as male.
No Single Gender
A gender that is not singularly ‘Female’ or ‘Male’ (e.g., non-binary, genderfluid, agender, culturally specific gender). Clients who live or identify as a gender other than female, a gender other than male, a gender outside the binary, no gender, more than one gender, a culturally specific gender, or a gender that changes over time.
Clients who live or identify with a transgender history, experience, or identity.
Clients who may be unsure, may be exploring, or may not relate to or identify with a gender identity at this time. Note that “Client doesn’t Know” is different than “Questioning”. “Questioning” is about exploring one’s gender identity. “Client doesn’t Know” should only be selected when a client does not know their gender from the five options available.
Client doesn’t know
‘Client doesn’t know’ should only be selected when a client does not know their gender and should not be used interchangeably with the response option ‘Questioning.’
‘Client refused’ should only be selected when a client refuses to identify their gender.
Data not collected
This should only be selected when the response to the field “Gender” was not collected.
Data from Charlotte-Mecklenburg is similar to the gender composition observed nationally. According to the 2020 AHAR Report: Part 1: PIT Estimates of Homelessness, 61% (or 352,211) of all individuals experiencing homelessness on one night in January 2020 across the United States were male; 39% (or 223,578) were female; and less than 1% individuals were transgender (3,161 individuals) or gender non-conforming (1,460 individuals).
When looking at single individuals experiencing homelessness, 29% were female and 1% identified as transgender or gender non-conforming; in contrast, for families, 60% were female and less than 1% were transgender or gender non-conforming.
Of note, youth identifying as transgender or as someone who does not identify as male, female or transgender comprised 4% of the all unaccompanied youth (age 18 – 24) experiencing homelessness.
The Homeless Research Institute, which is part of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, issued a brief on gender and homelessness, analyzing 2018 Point-in-Time Count data. The reality then still rings true today: homelessness is “largely a gendered phenomenon.” Single individuals experiencing homelessness are more likely to be male; in addition, single men experiencing homelessness are more likely to be unsheltered.
Like race-, ethnicity, and age-disaggregated data, disaggregating data by gender can help communities like Charlotte-Mecklenburg identify gender-specific gaps, explore the underlying systemic and structural gender inequalities that lead to homelessness, including but not limited to domestic violence, economic inequality, and the criminal justice system. And, most importantly, communities can use this data to identify and implement effective gender-based solutions.
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.
The HMIS Team from Mecklenburg County Community Support Services includes Mary Ann Priester, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Coordinator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care; Kimberly Sanders, HMIS Management Analyst; and Shamika Murray Agbeviade, HMIS Administrator.
Mary Ann Priester has worked with vulnerable and underserved populations, particularly individuals experiencing homelessness for 10+ years. As the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Coordinator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care, she leads HMIS strategic planning efforts and provides data oversight, technical support, and training to community agencies. She is also the Community Data Lead for the Built for Zero initiative to end homelessness and serves on the NCHMIS Governance Committee.
Shamika Murray Agbeviade is a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Administrator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC). She is responsible for licensure, technical support and training to for over 285 end users within 25+ agencies that serve individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Shamika is the Chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee, a member of the Data Advisory Committee and HMIS Sub-Committee.
Kimberly Sanders is the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) Management Analyst for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care (CoC). She is responsible for the CoC’s reporting to HUD, and provides reporting support and training to 25+ agencies that serve individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Kimberly is also a member of the Data Advisory Committee and oversees data collection for the Point-in-Time Count.