I took for granted as a young professional that affordable housing and homelessness were a part of the same conversation. The development challenges we face as a city – homelessness, a shortage of more than 21,000 units for those making 50% or less of our area median income, the lack of social mobility in specific zip codes, the impact and persistence of racial segregation – cannot be solved project-by-project or campaign-by-campaign. They require a larger, inclusive, multidisciplinary conversation.
Three new reports covering affordable housing, housing instability and homelessness will comprise the 2018 Housing Instability & Homelessness Report Series. The 2018 reports topics are described in this post.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard was released four months ago on August 21st. Currently, the Dashboard has data, local and national research, stories and a weekly blog. The goal of the Dashboard is to create a one-stop-resource for all housing and homelessness information in the community that anyone can access and use. Since its release in August, the Dashboard has been visited over 13,500 times. Taking out the initial release days when traffic was high, the Dashboard is visited on average about 100 times a day.
Yesterday – December 21 – was the winter solstice: the shortest day and the longest night of the year in Earth’s northern hemisphere. It also signals the official start to the winter season, although cold weather has already come to visit Charlotte-Mecklenburg. December 21 was also National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, a day to remember people in communities across the United States who have died while homeless in the past year. On November 16, Charlotte-Mecklenburg remembered over 50 individuals who died in the past year. There were 28 people who were homeless when they died.
For over a year, every emergency shelter in Charlotte-Mecklenburg has been full. Of course, every day, people leave our shelters to move into housing options, which we celebrate, but there are always more people than beds waiting at the front door. The heart feels this the heaviest when the temperatures drop. We know people are sleeping in the cars and outside in dangerously cold temperatures, because our shelters do not have room.
A new report called The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress released this week by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) provides national and statewide numbers on the number of people experiencing homelessness on one night in January 2017.
This blog post will break down information in the new report, compare the new information to local Point-in-Time Count numbers, and offer three takeaways for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
We have an affordable housing crisis in Charlotte that disproportionately impacts families of color. When we reckon with the history of housing policy in America, this disproportionate impact isn’t a surprise. The roots of this crisis are from policies based on race. Yet, to counteract the policy impact decades later, we are relying on programs and services that disregard race. Can the decades long impact of discriminatory policies be counteracted by nonprofits and improved service provision? The current state of our housing crisis would say no, our approach is insufficient.
W. T. Purkiser wrote, “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, when we are reminded of blessings like family, friends, food and fellowship, Purkiser’s wisdom to consider how we use those blessings is important, especially as we think about our gift of time. How will you spend your time in the final months of 2017 and what might you do differently in 2018? As you ponder, here’s an option to consider in 2018.
Read how data is used to improve care coordination and reduce medical transports for frequent emergency service users in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.