Moving Priorities Forward
United Way requested funding from the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to provide early momentum for the initiatives outlined in the Implementation Plan. These requests, now approved, will advance the following work.
To initiate the shift to a person-directed care model and introduce systems navigation, Mecklenburg County granted funding to convene key stakeholders in a year-long planning process, with a goal of mapping the current system and identifying key elements of building out the systems navigator role. This effort will require us to evaluate existing data systems to understand how they interact, and how they can be further developed to improve information sharing about existing programs and services.
Additionally, United Way will conduct an audit of skills necessary to complete the systems navigator role, and develop recommendations for a training curriculum centered on evidence-based practices. A Home For All’s Person Directed Care pillar calls for a flexible services spending account (FSSA) that braids public and private funding to be used for services tailored to an individual household’s needs. To that end, United Way will work with private and public funders to determine what should be included in the FSSA and how funds might be equitably dispersed. This is a major systems change and will require conversations with and support from many different entities. The implementation team charged with leading this work will, therefore, include as many agencies, key stakeholders, and funders as possible throughout the design process
Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte both provided funding to advance work to design and pilot an upstream emergency rental assistance program. United Way will use a portion of the funds to design the pilot program. Working with an implementation team comprised of key stakeholders, United Way will evaluate the innovations made to emergency rental assistance through COVID-19 to determine what to retain. We will also identify data sharing requirements, target population, and marketing strategy, and determine what other supportive services to pair with the emergency assistance. Once the design process is complete, United Way will launch a competitive grants process to select vendor(s) to implement the envisioned pilot program.
Mecklenburg County provided funds to advance the critical home repair initiative. Working with City, County, and nonprofit providers, as well those with lived experience, United Way will work with a technical assistance provider to study the critical home repair eco-system and identify opportunities to maximize the impact of available public and private funding.
The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and a number of nonprofits operate successful critical home repair programs. Nevertheless, a number of barriers hinder the current critical home repair eco-system. First, it is difficult to identify and contract with construction teams that can make the repairs and meet the requirements of the program, particularly if federal revenue, which comes with often-burdensome compliance requirements, funds the program.
Second, to find help, residents must navigate through multiple programs, each with different eligibility criteria and/or scope of work performed, often determined by the funding source. To better understand these issues, United Way will seek technical assistance to evaluate our current eco-system, identify needs, assets and gaps, and recommend strategies to rethink and strengthen the critical home repair system. Desired goals include growing the number of contractors able to complete critical home repairs, improving the consumer experience accessing critical home repair, and maximize the reach and impact of the public and private resources available for critical home repair.
Finally, both Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte increased funding to support eviction prevention and legal advocacy. Each directed increased and new funding, respectively, to Legal Aid of North Carolina to expand their existing legal advocacy program to support tenants facing eviction. Legal advocacy providers give pro-bono advice and provide representation to tenants facing eviction or other serious housing issues, such as landlord harassment, fair housing discrimination, or unsafe living conditions.
Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte both provided funding to launch a systems-level pilot program to recruit and retain property providers willing to rent to households with subsidy and/or vouchers. Building on extensive planning already undertaken by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care, United Way will launch a competitive grants process to identify a nonprofit agency who will serve as the centralized entity charged with property provider recruitment and retention. The grant recipient is expected to use the funds to hire dedicated staff with the desired, real estate expertise, develop a strategic outreach plan to make property providers aware of the program, create the necessary messaging tools, develop the public facing dashboards to gain community buy-in, and administer a flexible funding pool to incentive property provider participation.
Work around the Strike Fund and Housing Trust Fund expansion will proceed later in the implementation process.