The Hampden County and Three County CoC’s issued reports on Racial Disparities and Homelessness, per HUD’s request. Please take the time to review this important information. The Network Committees will also provide additional opportunities to discuss the findings.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s New England Public Policy Center is pleased to release new research:
By Robert Clifford and Osborne Jackson
This report examines the scope of homelessness in New England and the potential role of subsidized housing in alleviating homelessness in the region.
The report finds that the number of sheltered homeless families in Massachusetts and Vermont is on the rise, driving an increase in measured homelessness in New England. The authors consider three theories for the cause of the increase: the interaction of national market forces and area-specific shelter policies, area-specific market forces, and challenges in accurately measuring the homeless population.
The research also explores the extent to which increased affordable housing can decrease neighborhood homelessness in moderately poor areas, focusing on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) as a source of subsidized housing. The authors find that local increases in subsidized housing are likely to reduce neighborhood homelessness, especially in New England.
The full report is now available at the New England Public Policy Center’s website: www.bostonfed.org/neppc
Abt Associates, in partnership with HUD, has released the The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR).
Key findings include:
- In 2014, an estimated 1.49 million people used a shelter program at some point during the reporting year, a 4.6 percent increase since 2013. This marked the first year sheltered homelessness has grown in the U.S. since 2010.
- The number of homeless Veterans in the U.S. declined by 8,160 people between 2013 and 2014, while the number of people in families with children using shelters increased by 21,702 people during that same period in time.
- Between 2007 and 2014, the number of adults entering shelter after staying on the street or in other places not meant for human habitation increased by 48.3 percent.
- In 2014, adults with disabilities were almost 4 times more likely to be homeless in shelter than adults without disabilities.
- In 2014, about half of children in families using shelter programs were under the age of 6.
Opening Doors, the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, provides a national framework for improving our response to homelessness. The plan emphasizes both prevention and rapid exit from homelessness into stable housing. Some communities are characterizing the optimal system as one that makes homelessness, when it happens, rare, brief, and a one-time occurrence.
Two specific best practices that have emerged in furtherance of the plan are housing strategies for specific populations:
- Permanent supportive housing for households that are chronically homeless or very vulnerable; and
- Rapid rehousing for homeless families with children.
The Hampden County CoC has embraced these best practices, and has been engaged for a number of years in shifting our resources away from less proven models to these successful strategies. We have taken another step forward today, as we have just submitted our application for almost $3 million in FY2014 funds for local agencies addressing homelessness.
The funding we have applied for will support local agencies in providing permanent supportive housing for 216 chronically homeless households, 8 units of transitional housing for homeless youth, and 17 units of rapid rehousing for families. The charts above illustrate how our funding requests have changed over the last three applications to put greater emphasis on permannent supportive housing and rapid rehousing. The increases in blue and red over years show the way our funding mix is shifting to what is proven to work.
Andrea Miller has recently completed analysis of recurrence of homelessness for all people entered into the Hampden County CoC HMIS for FY11 to FY13. See the slides below for Andrea’s findings.
HUD is now requiring CoC’s to track this data, and we welcome the opportunity to use this data to make sure that, once a household receives assistance to exit homelessness, the household can remain stably housed. For the period reviewed, our rate of return was 14.5%. Our goal is to get it to 5% or less.