The 2025 Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy is the first comprehensive effort to address housing instability and homelessness in our community involving the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Led by Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer of Bank of America and Eugene A. Woods, president and chief executive officer of Atrium Health, this effort is supported by leaders from Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care and Charlotte Center City Partners. McKinsey & Company is providing a fact-based analysis on a pro bono basis.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg has, over time, made significant investments in prevention, emergency shelter and permanent housing. In addition, Charlotte Mecklenburg ramped up response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that every person as a safe place to isolate or quarantine. Yet, housing instability and homelessness continues to grow.

On a single night in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, there are at least 3,000 individuals experiencing literal homelessness, including in sheltered or unsheltered locations. The number of households experiencing housing instability has also risen. And because of the financial ramifications of the pandemic, as of January 2021 there was almost $70 billion owed by U.S. renters in combined back rent, utilities, and late fees.

A comprehensive, systemic approach to address the full continuum of need requires the public, non-profit and private sectors at the table. This new effort marks the first time in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s history that the public and private sector have come together to address the full housing continuum, from homelessness, to affordable housing and upstream to struggling households who have not yet lost their homes.

By October 2021, the 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy will produce a comprehensive plan which aligns strategic objectives; employs a common lexicon; describes clear metrics; and develops a multi-year approach to prioritized actions. These actions must include a focus on funding alignment, policy, data, and the implementation structure. This effort will prioritize transparency and inclusivity.

For more information or how to get involved, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Housing & Homelessness Strategy Framework

The framework of this comprehensive plan will be stakeholder driven and grounded in equity, transparency and inclusion. The plan will be organized around four pillars that correspond to the Housing & Homelessness Ecosystem: Strengthen Prevention System (Evaluate Upstream); Optimize Temporary Housing/Shelter System; Grow Permanent Affordable Housing; and Strengthen Cross-Sector Supports. This work will be accomplished through five methods: Unified Policy Advocacy; Coordinated Funding Alignment; Innovative Data Analytics; Effective Communications; and Ongoing Strategy Support.

Leadership & Governance

The governance structure below has been developed and designed to lay the foundation for a comprehensive, sustainable plan with shared ownership. This structure includes a working group, technical committee, and nine workstreams.

WORKING GROUP

As owner of and advisor for the Housing & Homelessness Strategy, the Working Group is responsible for the guidance and approval of the direction of the comprehensive community effort; coordination of stakeholder participation; and commitment to successful execution.

Cathy Bessant, Bank of America
Co-Chair
Eugene A. Woods, Atrium Health
Co-Chair
Will Alston, Wells FargoChris Jackson, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
Gris Bailey, Latin American Chamber of CommerceMarcus Jones, City of Charlotte
Erin Barbee, DreamKey Partners; Leading On OpportunityValerie Kopetzky, Anuvia Prevention & Recovery Center
Kristin Blinson, Hope HavenJanet LaBar, CLT Alliance
Laura Yates Clark, United Way of Central CarolinasJames Lee, Stan Greenspon Center for Peace & Social Justice
Liz Clasen-Kelly, Roof AboveMichael Marsicano, Foundation For The Carolinas
Jesse Cureton, Novant HealthFulton Meachem, INLIVIAN
Dena Diorio, Mecklenburg CountyDeronda Metz, Salvation Army Center of Hope
George Dunlap, Mecklenburg Board of County CommissionersDi Morais, Ally Financial
Mark Ethridge, Ascent CapitalKatherine Neebe, Duke Energy
Tom Finke, Adara AcquisitionsTim Sittema, Crosland Southeast
Malcolm Graham, Charlotte City CouncilLori Thomas, UNC Charlotte
Trish Hobson, The Relatives; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of CareEarnest Winston, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Michael Smith, Charlotte Center City Partners
Advisor to the Working Group
Fritz Nauck, McKinsey & Company
Advisor to the Working Group

TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

The Technical Committee includes representatives with specific expertise in the sectors that are impacted by and/or have an impact on housing instability, homelessness, and affordable housing. The Technical Committee is responsible for synthesizing the recommendations generated from the nine Workstreams into a comprehensive plan that ensures alignment with the values and principles of the overall strategy.

Laura Belcher, Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Charlotte RegionTaiwo Jaiyeoba, City of Charlotte
Kristin Blinson, Hope HavenStacy Lowry, Mecklenburg County
Sherri Chisolm, Leading on OpportunityDeronda Metz, Salvation Army Center of Hope
Liz Clasen-Kelly, Roof AboveJames Searcy, Promise Resource Network
Joe Davis, Hearts Beat As One FoundationMichael Smith, Charlotte Center City Partners
Dena Diorio, Mecklenburg CountyLori Thomas, UNC Charlotte
Fred Dodson, DreamKey PartnersAnthony Trotman, Mecklenburg County
Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, United Way of Central Carolinas; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of CarePamela Wideman, City of Charlotte
Carol Hardison, Crisis Assistance MinistryDeborah Woolard, Block Love Charlotte
Courtney LaCaria, Mecklenburg County

WORKSTREAMS

Nine project Workstreams are organized around the following four pillars: Strengthen Prevention System (Evaluate Upstream); Optimize Temporary Housing/Shelter System; Grow Permanent Affordable Housing; and Strengthen Cross-Sector Supports. Five additional workstreams focus on how the work will be accomplished, including: Unified Policy Advocacy; Coordinated Funding Alignment; Innovative Data Analytics; Effective Communications; and Ongoing Strategy Support. Project workstreams are tasked with identifying gaps and opportunities for change relative to their assigned areas. This output will ultimately be synthesized into a comprehensive plan by the members of the Technical Committee and recommended for review and adoption by the Working Group.

To learn more or find out how to join a workstream, email charmeckhousingstrategy@mecknc.gov.

WorkstreamsWorkstream Leaders
Strengthen Prevention SystemCourtney LaCaria, Mecklenburg County
James Searcy, Promise Resource Network
Optimize Temporary Housing/Shelter SystemLiz Clasen-Kelly, Roof Above
Deronda Metz, Salvation Army Center of Hope
Grow Permanent Affordable HousingFred Dodson, DreamKey Partners
Karen Pelletier, Mecklenburg County
Pamela Wideman, City of Charlotte
Strengthen Cross-Sector SupportsAnna London, Charlotte Works
Jerome Williams, Novant Health
Unified Policy AdvocacyDena Diorio, Mecklenburg County
Marcus Jones, City of Charlotte
Coordinated Funding AlignmentShawn Heath, City of Charlotte
Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, United Way of Central Carolinas
Alex Wallace, Ally
Innovative Data AnalyticsStacy Lowry, Mecklenburg County
Lori Thomas, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Effective CommunicationsCourtney LaCaria, Mecklenburg County
Moira Quinn, Charlotte Center City Partners
Ongoing Strategy SupportAnthony Trotman, Mecklenburg County
Jenny Ward, Bank of America

ORGANIZATIONS & GROUPS INVOLVED

Click to see full list

A Way Home Foundation

Ada Jenkins Center

Adara Acquisitions

Ally Financial

American Airlines

Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center

Ascent Real Estate Capital

Atrium Health

Bank of America

Barings

Block Love Charlotte

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Brookhouse Group

Caldwell Presbyterian Church

Camino

Canopy Housing Foundation (charitable arm of Canopy Realtor Association)

CareRing

Carolinas CARE Partnership

Carolinas Farm Trust

Caterpillar Ministries

Catholic Charities

Charlotte Airport

Charlotte Angels

Charlotte Area Transit System

Charlotte Center City Partners

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy

Charlotte Executive Leadership Council

Charlotte Family Housing

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

Charlotte Regional Visitor’s Authority

Charlotte Rescue Mission

Charlotte Works

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Charlotte-Piedmont Community College

Child Care Resources, Inc

City of Charlotte

CommonWealth Charlotte

Communities in Schools

Community Care Bridge

Corning

Council for Children’s Rights

Covenant Presbyterian Church

Crescent Communities

Crisis Assistance Ministry

Crosland SE

CrossRoads Corporation

DreamKey Partners

Duke Energy

First United Methodist Church, Charlotte

Florence Crittendon

Foundation For The Carolinas

Fifth Third Bank

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

Greater Charlotte Apartment Association

gruppoETICO

Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Charlotte Region

Heal Charlotte

Hearts Beat as One Foundation

Hearts for the Invisible Coalition

Home Again Foundation

Homeless Services Network

Hope Haven

Hope House Foundation

Hope Vibes

Individual community advocates and volunteers

Individuals with lived experience of homelessness and housing instability

INLIVIAN

International House

Investments with Purpose, Incorporated

JLL

Johnson C. Smith University

Latin American Chamber of Commerce

Latin American Coalition

Laurel Street Partners

Leading on Opportunity

Legal Aid of North Carolina

Leon Levine Foundation

LISC

Loaves & Fishes

Lowe’s

McKinsey & Company

Mecklenburg County

MeckMin

Merancas Foundation

Messer Construction Company

Novant Health

Promise Resource Network

Project 658

Prospera

Roof Above

Safe Alliance

Salvation Army Center of Hope

Samaritan House

Serve Unity Outreach

Smart Start

Social Serve

Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University

Supportive Housing Communities

The Harvest Center

The Relatives

Thompson Child & Family Focus Services

Time Out Youth

Truist Bank

UCity Family Zone

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

United Way of Central Carolinas

Urban League

Veterans Bridge Home

Vote Riders

Wells Fargo

West Side Community Land Trust

YMCA of Greater Charlotte

YWCA Central Carolinas

Milestones

Below are the initial milestones achieved to date.

  • Data Collection & Research

    McKinsey & Company has provided a fact-based analysis on a pro-bono basis, collecting data and research on gaps in the existing housing continuum in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. In addition, McKinsey & Company has compiled best practice solutions, including a community survey, in-depth interviews, and focus groups with over 100 homeless service providers, community and business leaders, funders, people with lived experience, local government staff, housing advocates, residents, and research institutions.

  • Approach & Governance Structure

    A consortium comprised of representatives from Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care, Charlotte Center City Partners, Bank of America and Atrium Health have helped develop and design the approach and governance structure to lay the foundation for a comprehensive, sustainable plan with shared ownership. This structure includes a working group, technical committee, and nine workstreams.

  • Official Launch

    Led by co-chairs Cathy Bessant and Eugene A. Woods, a broad consortium of the public, private and non-profit sectors announced the launch of the comprehensive community-wide effort to create a strategic plan around housing instability and homelessness in our community on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

  • Evaluate Upstream Blueprint Released

    Evaluate Upstream, a year-long, community planning process to develop a comprehensive and sustainable prevention assistance system for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, concluded its work in April 2021. Evaluate Upstream had the following goals: to document existing prevention resources across Charlotte-Mecklenburg and determine whether and how they work together; to design an optimally functioning prevention network; and to develop an evaluation framework for an impactful homelessness prevention system in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The culmination of this work is reflected in the Evaluate Upstream Blueprint. Evaluate Upstream also forms the prevention pillar of the 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy (CMHHS). The Prevention Workstream of the new CMHHS Strategy will pick up the next stage of the work: to outline the roadmap that will transform the recommendations in the Evaluate Upstream Blueprint into action, embodying both the guiding principles of the blueprint and the core values of the overall planning process.

  • “What” and “How” Workstreams Launched

    More than 170 individuals have signed up to participate on at least one of the nine project workstreams, which are tasked with developing recommendations for the CMHHS strategy. All individuals were invited to virtual onboarding sessions to learn more about the community effort and process leading up to this point. There are four “what” workstreams: Strengthen Prevention System (Evaluate Upstream); Optimize Temporary Housing/Shelter System; Grow Permanent Affordable Housing; and Strengthen Cross-Sector Supports. Five additional workstreams will focus on “how” the work will be accomplished: Unified Policy Advocacy; Coordinated Funding Alignment; Innovative Data Analytics; Effective Communications; and Ongoing Strategy Support. Since the strategy launch in April, workstream co-leaders paired with sponsors from the working group have been working with participants to complete charters that will outline the scope and objectives; roles and responsibilities; and deliverables to be produced. These charters will help ensure that the product and process of each workstream remains in alignment with each other and unified under our common vision.

  • “What” Workstreams Complete Draft Initiatives

    One way that individuals have supported this work is by participating on at least one of the nine project workstreams, which are tasked with developing recommendations for the CMHHS strategy. Four of the workstreams comprise the “what” pillars: Strengthen Prevention System; Optimize Temporary Housing/Shelter System; Grow Permanent Affordable Housing; and Strengthen Cross-Sector Supports. Informed by data, research and peer city interviews, these workstreams have submitted draft initiatives to be reviewed by the Technical Committee and Working Group. Emerging cross-workstream themes include a focus on equity; access to and available inventory of shelter, housing, prevention resources and supportive services; alignment of systems and structures; and promoting overall system change and sustainability.

  • Hosted virtual “What” Workstream Focus Groups

    During July and so far in August, CMHHS Communication Workstream hosted three virtual focus groups devoted to the four “What” Workstreams. As co-chairs, we shared why this work matters to us and is critical for our community. Representatives from the “What” Workstreams presented the draft initiatives and 99 focus group participants were able to provide feedback and ask questions. The feedback collected from these focus groups will be shared with the workstreams as they refine and finalize their initiatives.

  • Launched CMHHS “Myth-busting” Blog Series

    The new blog series, launched in June 2021, seeks to address the myths and misconceptions that have historically and continue to prevent positive change from occurring. This includes unpacking some of the most commonly misunderstood housing and homelessness terms and concepts. Published posts have covered the topics of “Housing First;” Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (or NOAH); and the role of supportive services in the work to end and prevent homelessness. Last week’s post focused on the fourth of five common myths and misperceptions about affordable housing: “Does affordable housing mean higher crime rates?” The series is one example of how we are helping stakeholders and the community connect, invest and advance the work of CMHHS.

Background & Context

WHY WE NEED THE 2025 CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS STRATEGY

Charlotte-Mecklenburg has a longstanding commitment to ending and preventing homelessness. Our community has, over time, made significant investments in prevention, emergency shelter and permanent housing. These efforts have only ramped up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that every person as a safe place to isolate or quarantine.  Housing has always been the launchpad for opportunity; now it is also a tool to address public health.

And yet housing instability and homelessness continues to grow in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. On a single night in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, there are at least 3,000 individuals experiencing literal homelessness, including in sheltered or unsheltered locations. The number of households experiencing housing instability has also risen. And because of the financial ramifications of the pandemic, as of January 2021 there was almost $70 billion owed by U.S. renters in combined back rent, utilities, and late fees.

Such a seemingly intractable problem like housing instability and homelessness necessitates a comprehensive, systemic approach to address the full continuum of need. It also requires both the public and private sector at the table. This new effort marks the first time in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s history that the public and private sector have come together to address the full housing continuum, from street homelessness, upstream to households experiencing cost-burden.

In addition to Bank of America and Atrium Health, a consortium comprised of representatives from Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care and Charlotte Center City Partners have provided initial support to lay the foundation for the work ahead.

HOW THIS EFFORT IS DIFFERENT

The 2025 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy builds upon successes, and integrate lessons learned from more than 20 years of systems-focused housing work, from previous and current community initiatives to address the problems of housing instability and homelessness. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s first assessment and comprehensive plan was released in the early 2000s, followed by the community’s 10-year plan to end and prevent homelessness.

During the past two decades, the community has taken on chronic and veteran homelessness; centralized and streamlined the intake process for assistance through Coordinated Entry; strengthened both the collection and dissemination of data; developed an ecosystem; reconstituted the Continuum of Care; and, over the past several years, focused upstream on the prevention assistance system. Prior efforts, including the most successful ones, have only targeted a specific piece of the issue, such as chronic or veteran homelessness.

In 2015, Housing First Charlotte Mecklenburg (HFCM) was a public-private venture, launched with the mission of ending chronic homelessness in our community. Chronic homelessness is defined as the experience of homelessness that lasts for more than one year, coupled with a disabling condition. Over a five-year period, HFCM helped house more than 1,000 chronically homeless individuals; connect service providers to clients, and each other; invest in research; and institute systems and accountability measures. Despite that, Charlotte-Mecklenburg still has more than 500 chronically homeless individuals experiencing homelessness, today. Further, that initiative was not intended to address non-chronically homeless individuals and families facing housing instability and homelessness. And it could not foresee the unique challenges of a public health crisis.

McKinsey & Company has provided a fact-based analysis on a pro bono basis to help facilitate the development of a comprehensive plan that will address the full continuum of housing instability and homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Three three main goals have been identified for this phase of the work, which are listed below:

  • To build awareness of; engender support for; and create a strategy that strengthens and increases coordination among and across service providers and systems to reduce and/or prevent housing instability and homelessness; and to forge a path forward;
  • To convene and commission aCharlotte-Mecklenburg leaders to own and oversee the implementation of this strategy; and
  • To pair the Working Group with “best-in-class” systems-change consulting services to help our community understand the problem; support proposed actions; and achieve progress on the adopted comprehensive, systems-focused strategy.

By October 2021, we will produce a comprehensive plan which aligns strategic objectives; employs a common lexicon; describes clear metrics; and develops a multi-year approach to prioritized actions. These actions must include a focus on funding alignment, policy, data, and the implementation structure. This effort will prioritize transparency and inclusivity. It will also be stakeholder-driven, and intentionally coupled with other community efforts, like “Evaluate Upstream.” Evaluate Upstream is a community-wide, systems-change process, focused on preventing individuals and families from ever falling into homelessness; it also considers the impacts of a lack of affordable housing and existing income disparities on homelessness.

How to Get Involved

To learn more about this work and how to get involved please sign up for more information by adding your email address below. You can also sign up to join a workstream by emailing charmeckhousingstrategy@mecknc.gov.

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