In August, the Building Bridges Blog launched a new, monthly data update. This effort, called the Housing & Homelessness Continuum Data Update, is intended to move the community from a focus on the One Number to a more comprehensive data set. This new update will attempt to cover the full housing continuum, from housing instability to homelessness. Even with the progress made to enumerate homelessness using the One Number (which includes sheltered and a portion of unsheltered homelessness), there are still many households who experience housing instability and homelessness and who are not yet captured. It is critical to identify the households “in the gap” to both understand the need for services and to construct effective solutions to address these needs. This approach is also an important outcome of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy (CMHHS): identifying and closing the remaining gaps in data collection and reporting across the full housing continuum. To that end, this week’s blog will use the new data to provide an update on the current state from a demand-side viewpoint: the number and characteristics of people experiencing housing instability and homelessness. This blog will also highlight the data gaps that exist and the work underway to address those gaps.
In April, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy (CMHHS) was launched. CMHHS is a comprehensive community-wide effort involving the public, private and non-profit sectors to develop a strategic plan to end and prevent homelessness in our community. As co-chairs for the working group launching the new strategy, we are pleased to share that participation in this important community-driven planning process continues to grow. There are over 250 individuals and more than 115 organizations, including providers who serve on the front lines, and individuals that have lived experience with housing instability or homelessness. Participants also include representatives from the county, city, and school system; corporate and business sectors; healthcare, workforce development, childcare, transportation and other complementary sectors; non-profits; funding and faith communities; grassroots organizations; and housing developers, landlords and real estate entities. In October 2021, we will share the results of this work: a multi-year, strategic plan to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg become a national leader in addressing current and preventing future homelessness by offering aligned strategies, unified goals, and clear funding pathways. Our shared vision is that homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring in Charlotte-Mecklenburg – where every person has access to permanent, affordable housing as well as the resources to sustain it. This update provides information about the latest milestones achieved, next steps – including opportunities for continued engagement in the weeks ahead – and the impact on our community.