“Housing First Charlotte: Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2016”
Partners Vow to End Chronic Homelessness in Two Years
Charlotte, N.C. – Jan. 6, 2015 – A partnership of more than two dozen public, private, nonprofit, houses of worship and higher education organizations have announced a bold undertaking to end chronic homelessness in Charlotte-Mecklenburg by the end of 2016. The group’s mission is to mobilize the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community to place the 450 men and women who meet the definition of “chronically homeless (1)” in our community in permanent supportive housing by Dec. 31, 2016.
“While our community strives to end all homelessness, there are several reasons to focus on ending chronic homelessness,” said Dale Mullennix, executive director of Urban Ministry Center and project manager of the initiative. “We know the chronically homeless are the most likely to die on our streets. And research shows that while the chronically homeless make up only about 10 percent of the overall homeless population, they utilize 50 percent of the homeless resources. This is not only the action of a compassionate community; it helps us use limited resources wisely.”
The plan from “Housing First (2) Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Ending Chronic Homelessness in 2016” has seven major components. They include:
Creating a registry and monitoring progress
Expanding outreach efforts to build trust and move the chronically homeless to housing
Creating new permanent supportive housing units including at least one single site building
Training organizations and staff in the “Housing First” model
Engaging the community to be part of the solution
Ensure adequate leadership
Evaluating the effort
Funding for this effort will require broad commitment and investment from a variety of sources including corporate, private, faith and public.
“Addressing and solving chronic homelessness will need the support and coordination of the public, private and nonprofit sector,” said Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte president for Bank of America. “This initiative is vital to the health of our city because it will increase understanding of the issue and provide a long-term solution for those in need of stable housing, and ultimately a path forward to financial stability.”
This unprecedented effort, with such wide-ranging partnerships, creative funding, measurable goals and a specific timeline, is unique. If, as we anticipate, we are successful, this initiative will create a new model for addressing chronic homelessness in our urban centers.
“This is an opportunity for Charlotte to lead by example,” said Mayor Dan Clodfelter. “We have several agencies in the community that are working to address the issue of chronic homelessness, but ‘Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg’ represents a strategic and coordinated effort, bringing together the right people and resources to make a lasting impact.”
Mecklenburg County is providing most of the supportive services necessary to make the Housing First model work.
“In this community, we care for our friends and neighbors. Today we are putting those words into action by collaborating with our non-profit and corporate partners to find solutions to house our most chronically homeless neighbors," said Trevor Fuller, Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners chairman. "We will work to make this community priority a reality by steadfastly maintaining our part of the plan and finding solutions to make life better for all Mecklenburg County residents."
“The Housing First model is a shift from how we used to operate where we tried to address any issues before providing housing,” said Dena Diorio, Manager of Mecklenburg County. “We used housing as a reward instead of treating it as a required component of the treatment plan. We’ve found that by providing stable housing first, service delivery is more effective and results in better outcomes.”
There will be many ways for the community (from businesses, individuals, schools, neighborhoods and houses of faith) to get involved as this initiative ramps up. The first opportunity will be the Point In Time Count (3) on Jan. 27-29. To sign up as a volunteer to count, please fill out this form.