SILICON VALLEY, San Jose CA.
We encouraged everyone to spend Monday, January 21st Martin Luther King Day in some type of service to our communities and fulfilling the mission and principles that Dr. King embodied: empowering individuals, strengthening communities, overcoming obstacles through peaceful means and helping others. Dr. King challenged our nation to do more for others. He devoted his life to preaching peaceful resistance. He touched schools, churches, communities, and lives around the globe. It is our duty as citizens to teach the next generation about the positive impact and difference we all can make in our communities every day, together. Inspiring our families and children to participate, setting an example, will motivate them in their own service today and in the future. Let’s continue our civic work and be enthused by the extraordinary life and encouraging words of Dr. King: “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”
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Tiny homes are doing more than just serving as dwellings for those looking to radically downsize their possessions. In many cities, tiny home villages have been built to house the homeless. Dallas, TX, Detroit, MI, Syracuse, N.Y., Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro & High Point, NC., Nashville,Tenn., and Portland, OR. are just a few of the cities that now feature these kinds of tiny home communities. Tiny homes are constructed out of wood and shipping containers.
More Than 9,000 People Are Homeless In North Carolina
Tiny House Community Development and The Sustainability Resource Center groundbreaking at the site of the future JM Green Tiny House Community at 401 Hay St. The Greensboro-based groups share a common mission to reduce homelessness and create educational community gardens with edible landscaping throughout North Carolina.
Scott Jones, Executive board Chairman
Tiny House Community Development non
profit they launched the state’s first official
tiny house community on June 1 on Causey
Street in Greensboro.
Sustainability Resource Center
Sieber said. “I’m actually writing a program right now for a solar tree to help power the greenhouse. We’ll teach classes and do extended-season growing, some hydroponics and cool things like that. They can have support meetings in the greenhouse. It will be available for residents in the area. The goal is to have too much food for just the residents to consume—that there will be plenty left over for other people.”
More Than 9,000 People Are Homeless In North Carolina
More than 22,000 People Are Homeless In Washington State
The State of Oregon has more than 13,000 homeless people
The State of California has more than 129,000 homeless people.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress reports that on a single night in 2018, 552,830 people were identified as experiencing homelessness.
This represents the second year that homelessness has seen a slight increase in the United States, following seven consecutive years of decreases. Despite the overall rise, the report also shows decreases among key populations, including family households (-2.7 percent) and veterans (-5 percent). This can be attributed to the focused efforts and resources from service providers, local leaders, and federal partners that have made it a priority to end homelessness for these populations. “It’s very clear that focus creates progress. We see the greatest declines among populations that have received targeted and sustained resources,” said Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Now, we have to pay close attention to the populations where we’re seeing increases. That specifically includes people who are living unsheltered, as well as homeless individuals. ”According to the report, almost half of individuals experiencing homelessness (48 percent) are unsheltered, living outdoors, in encampments, or in other places not meant for human habitation. As communities nationwide have struggled with this phenomenon, the National Alliance to End Homelessness has increased its technical assistance efforts to help communities design more effective crisis response systems, including making their shelters lower-barrier and more housing-focused. The organization has also announced that it will hold a national convening on ending homelessness for individual adults in February 2019, in San Diego, CA. “We’re not going to end homelessness if we don’t have a clear strategy for homeless individuals,” said Roman. “This includes building crisis response systems for individual adults, and developing best practice strategies for outreach, shelter, services, and housing for them.”
The increase in homelessness also comes as the nation grapples with a prolonged affordable housing crisis. There is currently a shortage of 7.2 million rental homes for extremely low-income renters. The lack of affordable housing has a dual effect: it pushes more people into the homelessness system, while also making it more difficult to help people exit into housing.
“The solution to homelessness is housing. And when the nation had an adequate supply of affordable housing, we didn’t have a homelessness crisis,” said Roman. “We have been losing affordable units every year, and the gap between supply and demand just keeps widening. Today, the lack of affordable housing affects large cities and rural communities alike, putting more people at risk of becoming homeless each month. We cannot overstate the scope of this challenge or the impact it has had on the nation.”
Despite the increases, the number of people experiencing homelessness declined in 31 states and the District of Columbia in 2018. In fact, current levels of homelessness remain 13.2 percent lower than in 2010 and 15 percent lower than in 2007. Roman attributes this to the many communities committed to becoming more effective and efficient by embracing proven best practices. "Those working on the front lines of the homelessness system are actually getting more people back into housing every year,” she said. “The increases of the past two years aren’t because the homelessness system isn’t effective; they are because more people are coming into the system than ever, and there are fewer homes to put them into. Nonetheless, the fact that so many communities continue to reduce the number of homeless people is proof that with greater federal and local investments and a bigger commitment to affordable housing, the rest of the nation can do the same.” Homelessness ticked up slightly in 2018. A 0.3 percent increase in HUD’s Point-in-Time (PIT) count was the headline from December’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). However, there were five other important takeaways from the release.
Communities across the country have successfully reduced homelessness. Over the last eight years, overall homelessness decreased by 13 percent. During that same period, great progress occurred among targeted demographic groups:
This year marked a continuation of the trend for families and veterans. However, there was a 2.2 percent uptick among chronically homeless individuals.
Ending homelessness will require a focus on individuals (not living in families with children). Two out of three people experiencing homelessness belong to the group. The 2018 PIT Count identified 372,417 individuals experiencing homelessness. Nearly half were living unsheltered.
Housing affordability is the major driver of homelessness. Far too many people spend far too much of their income on rent. Experts label them as “cost-burdened.” According to researchers, areas with growing numbers of cost-burdened households can expect increases in homelessness. These places are often (but not always) cities.
The 2018 AHAR found that most people (51 percent) experiencing homelessness are in the nation’s 50 major cities. A quick look at various data points related to the Los Angeles area illustrates the challenges facing urban areas:
Progress is happening in states and communities with low to moderate housing prices. Notable examples are easily found in the American South.
Over the last eight years, some have realized dramatic decreases in overall homelessness, including:
This story isn’t solely defined by housing prices. Many states and communities are clearly putting in the work to end homelessness. Georgia is just one example.
The Alliance’s Center for Capacity Building was on the ground in Georgia with service providers from across the state when they made a commitment to house more people. The Rapid Re-Housing Learning Collaborative that the Alliance led helped facilitate partnerships while providing training and technical assistance.
The network of providers was steadfast in pursuing its goal. It employed best practices, tailored services to individual clients, built a network of landlords for rapid rehousing placements, built partnerships with city leaders, improved their system of referrals, and effectively used data to inform their efforts.
The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) tells us something we all should know by now: African Americans are glaringly over represented within the homelessness system. African Americans represent 13 percent of the general population but account for 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness and more than 50 percent of homeless families with children. Other racial groups and ethnicities are also over represented, but African Americans make up the largest group.
These disparate numbers have begun to spur action at the national and local levels. The Center for Social Innovation launched Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC) in 2016 to study and respond to racial disparities in homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has started awarding points for addressing racial disparities in the most recent Continuum of Care (CoC) funding application, and it recently released an analysis tool on race/ethnicity and homelessness.
Cities and non-profits have also constructed apartment communities to house the homeless. Denver, Portland, and Los Angeles are among the cities that now feature multifamily properties reserved for the homeless. According to an article on Smart Cities Dive, “Apartments are one form of the ‘housing first’ approach, which also has led to the spread of tiny houses for the homeless. This method helps people who are homeless to quickly move into and stay in permanent housing. It typically involves providing services and short-term assistance without preconditions such as employment, sobriety or the lack of a criminal record.
A common practice in housing first approaches is to provide rental assistance based on what a person can pay rather than supplying completely free housing. That embraces the fact that about 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness have some income while combating the widely-held misconception that all homeless people are unemployed.
New York City is now using an app called StreetSmart, which, according to Government Technology, enables homelessness outreach workers in all five boroughs to communicate and log data seamlessly in real-time while they’re talking to homeless people on the streets.
He has the kind of resume that would attract the attention of any job recruiter: high school valedictorian, economics major from Yale University, Wall Street banking jobs, small business entrepreneur. But a few wrong turns in life 10 years ago left him him homeless, and today he's living underneath a tarp in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles.
Shawn Pleasants, 52, is one of 60,000 people living on the streets of Los Angeles County. The situation has been in recent years - between 2018 and 2019, the number of homeless people went up 12% in the county and 16% in the city, according to the Greater Los Angels homeless count. Along LA's skid row downtown, tents line entire blocks, and encampments in other neighborhoods have been growing.
Is in the process of launching a platform that will consolidate all of the data that outreach workers collect while serving the homeless. With the use of the app, outreach workers are able to enter that information into a single citywide database as they collect it, a stark contrast to the prior system, which saw individual outreach workers keeping their own files in systems that were generally not interconnected.
The upshot, according to the city, is that the up-to-date information in a centralized database accessible to all will improve the efficiency of the outreach workers’ efforts to get homeless people into city shelters and services. This app basically allows outreach workers to communicate better with each other.
One of the best examples of a government agency using tech to bolster its efforts to address homelessness can be found in Bergen County, N.J., where officials recently certified their jurisdiction as first in the nation to end chronic homelessness.
Aurora, Colorado which is part of the Denver metropolitan area, have also used the Homeless Management Information System required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
As such, the city has installed some tech-based efforts more specifically tailored for its own needs. For example, the city recently began using new technology to get a more accurate count of its homeless population, which it tagged at 526 individuals in January, up from 420 at the same time last year.
Unlike many of the cities making advancements in reducing homelessness via tech, Asheville, N.C., is doing so primarily with the aid of nonprofit volunteers, rather than only doing so within city government.
Code for Asheville, a Code for America brigade, recently began working with the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Coalition after noting it had little to no Web presence. Code for Asheville is now working to change that.
The 200 organizations within the homeless coalition can easily access related info, and work is underway with coders in Greensboro, N.C., to bring the site statewide.
In the end, no single entity, sector or industry can solve America’s homelessness problem alone. Private industry has a huge role to play in this crisis.
Private businesses are innovative, nimble, efficient, and bringing these qualities to the fight against homelessness will benefit all. Private companies can make a huge impact by making a commitment to hiring ready-to-work individuals who are experiencing homelessness and helping them find a place to live.
But local governments are a vital component of the fight as well, and efforts and innovations made by cities and counties should be applauded and implemented throughout the country.
A nascent data-driven approach to homelessness is one taking hold in many cities. Seattle is currently in the information gathering stage with its own efforts to combat homelessness.
About a year and a half ago, the city decided to put measures in place that would let them get a better overall sense of how its many homelessness outreach programs were functioning
To accomplish this, the city asked outreach providers to begin contributing data in five key metric areas: exits to permanent housing, the average length of stay in a shelter, returns to homelessness, and entries from homelessness, and the utilization rate of shelters and services.
The idea is that by using a data dashboard to examine the data a more efficient and effective system in terms of addressing homelessness can be created.
Housing insecurity in the nation’s richest cities is far worse than government statistics claim.
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