On March 18, a new Building Bridges blog series was launched to share solutions from other communities and highlight key interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week’s blog post focused on eviction prevention. In addition to addressing the pre-existing issues of housing instability and homelessness, organizations are also adapting daily to the challenge of protecting the health of clients and staff. These changes are critical to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus and ensure that residents have safe, stable shelter or housing for as long as possible. As of March 31, there have been at least 2 deaths reported among people experiencing homelessness nationwide. According to one new report released last week, over 21,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United States are predicted to need hospitalization, with as many as 3,400 likely to die as a result of COVID-19. In addition, the report estimates that an additional 400,000 beds will be needed across the country to adequately shelter and quarantine individuals experiencing homelessness. According to the report, the 12-month price tag to provide shelter and quarantine beds in alignment with new CDC guidelines is estimated at $11 billion. This new Building Bridges series looks at community responses to COVID-19 using a prospicient lens: What short-term, community responses can become long-term, systemic solutions? Which immediate interventions can effectively and efficiently address the structural issues that lead to housing instability and homelessness? What “new thing” can evolve into “business as usual?” And what is needed to create healthy, stable communities permanently? This week’s blog post is dedicated to the issue of flexibility and sustainability of funding that addresses housing instability and homelessness in response to COVID-19.
Last week’s blog post launched a new series to share solutions from other communities and highlight interventions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to addressing the pre-existing issues of housing instability and homelessness, organizations are also adapting daily to new challenges to protect the health of clients and staff. These changes are critical to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus and ensure residents have safe, stable shelter or housing for as long as possible. This series will look at community responses to COVID-19 using a prospicient lens: What short-term, community responses can become long-term, systemic solutions? Which immediate interventions can effectively and efficiently address the structural issues that lead to housing instability and homelessness? What “new thing” can evolve into “business as usual?” And what is needed to create healthy, stable communities permanently? This week’s blog post is dedicated to interventions targeting eviction prevention.
The COVID-19 pandemic has communities around the world grappling with their response, especially to highly vulnerable populations. These include people currently experiencing housing instability and homelessness, and those at the greatest risk of losing their housing. In addition to guidance from entities like the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD); the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), communities are sharing information with each other about how they are responding to the crisis. This blog post is the first in a new series that will focus on sharing solutions from other communities and highlighting interventions that can be used in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
In February, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) released a new tool for Continuums of Care (CoCs): CoC Performance Profile Reports. The reports include information from FY14 to FY18 for all Continuums of Care; and also compile data from the Point-in-Time Count (PIT), Housing Inventory Count (HIC), system performance measures, and CoC Program Competition funding allocations. CoCs can view this information at the CoC-level, state-level, or federal level. This blog post provides an overview of the new report and how it can be used in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Each month, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) releases an update on community housing data. This is done via the Housing Data Snapshot. The Housing Data Snapshot provides a regular update for the total number of people experiencing homelessness in the community, as well as the total number of households seeking housing assistance via Coordinated Entry. This month, CSS has added a new metric to the Housing Data Snapshot: the average length of time to access permanent housing. This blog post provides an overview of the new metric, why it matters, and what it means for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services (CSS) partners with homeless services agencies in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to enter, collect, analyze, and report data on housing and homelessness in the community. As part of this work, CSS first released the Housing Data Snapshot in June 2019. Since then, the Housing Data Snapshot has been updated, expanded, and released each month. The Housing Data Snapshot now provides a regular update for the One Number; “By-Name” List; and Coordinated Entry. This blog post highlights the latest changes and provides further analysis of the data added to the Housing Data Snapshot and what these changes mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Access to affordable housing units has decreased in communities across the United States, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The definition of “affordable” can range to as much as 120% Area Median Income (AMI); which is $94,800 annually for a family of four. According to the 2019 Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability & Homelessness Report, there is a documented gap of 27,022 housing units that are affordable and available to households earning below 30% of Area Median Income (AMI). For a family of four, this translates to an annual income of $25,750. A monthly rent affordable for this family is less than $650. However, the Fair Market Rent for a 2-bedroom unit in Mecklenburg County is $1,063. In 2019, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released “Documenting the Long-run Decline in Low-cost Rental Units by State” describing the decline of “low cost” housing units (units renting under $600 per month in inflation-adjusted terms) between 1990 and 2017. This blog post covers the highlights from this research and what it could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro released a new report in January on student homelessness in the United States. The annual report, Federal Data Summary School Years 2015-2016 to 2017-2018: Education for Homeless Children and Youth, provides information on students who experienced homelessness and were reported in public schools over a three-year comparison period. This blog post unpacks the definition used to measure student homelessness, highlights some of the key findings from the report and discusses what these findings could mean for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
This week’s blog post offers a perspective from Elyse Hamilton-Childres, Prevention and Intervention Services Director with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. Elyse has been working in the field of intimate partner violence since 2010. This year marked my first time participating in the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. I wanted to get involved for a number of reasons: 1) The domestic violence and homelessness fields have become more integrated and aligned. As a person who works with those involved in domestic violence, it is crucial that I understand the experience of homelessness more broadly. 2) I am a more effective leader when I take time to engage with people who may receive services from the programs I oversee. Data and research inform my work but cannot replace the value of lived experience and a human voice. 3) I believe in the power of authentic human interaction. I cannot end homelessness today; however, I can sit down with our homeless neighbors, shake their hands, hear their stories, and see them – really see them, and honor their dignity and worth. Participating in the PIT Count over seven days at three different locations was extraordinary. This blog post covers a few of my insights and takeaways and how it can inform the work in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The work to complete the 2020 Point-in-Time Count started on Monday, January 27 and will end on Sunday, February 2. Volunteers and providers are surveying individuals and families across Mecklenburg County to determine the number who slept in either emergency shelters, transitional housing, or in unsheltered locations on the night of Wednesday, January 29, 2020. The Point-in-Time Count is a mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for Continuums of Care (CoCs), like the one chartered in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Data collected by HUD is then reported to the U.S. Congress annually, to inform federal resource allocations for housing and homelessness assistance. Charlotte-Mecklenburg also goes above and beyond the federal funding requirements to collect other data that can be used to make decisions locally. This blog post provides information on how Charlotte-Mecklenburg uses the Point-in-Time Count to collect local data that can be used in our community, as well as how the event connects additional resources to individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness.