Research and News Roundup:
April 2024

Mary Ann Priester

Senior Management Analyst
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services

The Research and News Roundup is a monthly blog series that features a curated list of recent news and research related to housing instability, homelessness, and affordable housing. Together, these topics provide insights about the full housing continuum and provide community stakeholders with information about emergent research, promising practices, and innovative solutions related to housing and homelessness.

This month’s Research and News Roundup features recent research on the impact of housing instability on older adults, strategies on resource use to support housing-related services for people experiencing homelessness, and a synopsis of President Biden’s proposed budget investments to increase affordable housing and housing stability.


More Than Shelter: How Housing Affordability Is Linked to Older Americans’ Health

Recent research has suggested a link between housing affordability and health for older adults. Financial challenges like difficulty paying rent or mortgages and poor housing conditions have a direct impact on the health of older adults. Unaffordable housing and potential displacement or homelessness exacerbate these negative outcomes. Housing instability, particular among low to moderate income older adults, is associated with decreased ability to complete activities of daily living and may force older adults into making difficult decisions about whether to pay for food, medications, or other health-related expenses. As older adults become more vulnerable, they may need to transition to care facilities but there is a growing shortage of beds as the population ages. One housing study suggests that there may be a link between housing instability and moving into nursing facilities among older adults with lower-income cost-burdened renters more likely to move into nursing facilities not due to health care needs but because it is their most affordable option. Increasing affordable housing options for older adults has the potential to not only improve the health of older adults but also decrease the burden on the healthcare system and care facilities.


Resources to Support Housing-Related Services for People Experiencing Homelessness

People experiencing homelessness often require supportive services in addition to housing assistance. Supportive services can include connecting individuals to community resources such as childcare, job training, healthcare centers, or mental health services. Depending on the household’s needs, this may involve providing information or referrals, while more intensive assistance may be required in other cases. Some individuals experiencing homelessness, particularly those with complex challenges such as chronic health conditions, serious mental illnesses, or substance use disorders, may benefit from more intensive approaches like Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) that combine housing assistance with wraparound case management and supportive services to effectively address both health and housing needs. This HUD resource highlights federal programs that communities and housing providers can leverage to provide housing-related services to support people experiencing homelessness in exiting homelessness and maintaining housing stability post-exit. In addition to funding such as HUD Continuum of Care (CoC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) initiatives such as Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH), Treatment for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (TIEH), and Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals (GBHI) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Healthcare for the Homeless, there are numerous federal programs that are not specifically targeted to serve people experiencing homelessness that can be leveraged to provide supportive services. Strategies to use these federal programs include:

  • Covering housing related supportive services through Medicaid
  • Leveraging Medicaid manage care in lieu of services and settings to facilitate coverage of alternative services that support housing stability
  • Partner with Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to provide targeted case management, peer support, and outpatient mental health and substance use services
  • Utilize Community Mental Health Services Block Grants to provide supported employment, supported housing, jail diversion, and mental health services for at-risk populations
  • Leverage State Opioid Response Grants to cover recovery supports such as transportation, Housing supports like application fees, deposits, rental assistance, utility deposits, and utility assistance, and childcare
  • Leverage Substance Use Protection, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grants to cover recovery housing and recovery supports

The resource provides detailed information about each strategy opportunity, which populations are eligible, what services are covered, and how to leverage each opportunity.


The President’s Budget Cuts Housing Costs, Boosts Supply, and Expands Access to Affordable Housing

Last month President Biden released his proposed budget investments to address the national housing shortage and lower housing costs for renters and homebuyers. The proposed budget includes an expansion of the low-income tax credit and a new neighborhood homes tax credit. The goal of both of these strategies is to boost the supply of affordable housing available to low-income renters. The budget also proposes investments to support homeownership for first-time buyers and first-generation homeowners. In addition, the budget proposes a number of rental assistance strategies including project based rental assistance for extremely low-income households and housing voucher guarantees for extremely low-income veterans and youth aging out of foster care. Finally, the budget proposes funding to expand temporary and permanent housing assistance for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, targeted support for older adults, and expansion of HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program which provides legal assistance to low-income tenants who are facing or at risk of eviction.


Addressing Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s goal of reducing homelessness and ensuring access to safe, affordable housing requires integrated and innovative strategies that span the housing continuum. More Than Shelter provides insights into the impact of housing challenges on older adults and highlights opportunities to develop person-centered programming and interventions that can not only improve health outcomes for older adults but also ensure access to care facilities for our most vulnerable adults and decrease the burden on our health care system. The housing-related services resource outlines ways communities can leverage existing federal funding sources to enhance and increase access to services for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness to support rapid homeless exit and housing stability. The proposed budget investments provide innovative ideas to not only address immediate housing challenges but also to create a more inclusive housing system that improves access to stable, affordable housing and home ownership. Together, these innovative solutions related to housing and homelessness can inform local strategy to address the housing needs of all residents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.