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Jun 21, 2018

State of Homelessness 2018- Harvey's impact on the Homeless System

State of Homelessness Breakfast 2018
State of Homelessness Breakfast 2018

The Coalition for the Homeless held a State of Homelessness breakfast event at the Junior League of Houston on May 23. The event featured a panel discussion as well as the results of the 2018 Homeless Count & Survey.
Nearly 100 community stakeholders from partner agencies of The Way Home, local government agencies, and the business and philanthropic community attended the event, eager to learn more about the future of The Way Home, the region’s homeless response system. Panelists at the event included Marilyn Brown (President/CEO, Coalition for the Homeless), Robert Pulster (Regional Coordinator, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness), and Eva Thibaudeau, LMSW (Vice President of Programs, Coalition).


The panel, moderated by Kaitlin Monte (Fox 26), began with a look back on the work of The Way Home, including successes to-date. Thibaudeau spoke to the incredible collaboration of the local homeless service nonprofits – may of whom attended the event – and how their willingness to think outside the box led to many of our community’s successes. Pulster reminded those in the room that, although homelessness in Houston can feel overwhelming, Houston has led and continues to lead the nation on solving homelessness through innovative partnerships and an incredible “yes” culture.


Brown revealed the 2018 Homeless Count & Survey results which showed an increase for the first time since 2011. The majority of the increase was seen in the unsheltered homeless population, and 18% of unsheltered homeless individuals surveyed during the Count reported that their homelessness was due to Hurricane Harvey.
“Hurricane Harvey was a major disrupter to the work of The Way Home, both in terms of diverting resources and contributing to the increase in unsheltered homelessness,” said Brown. “In just 41 days, partners of The Way Home shifted resources to successfully prevent homelessness for nearly 1,000 people who had nowhere to go after the storm. But it was a major disrupt

ion to the homeless programs already in place and a devastating distraction from our planned work in 2018.”
With an eye to the future, Pulster shared insights about an anticipated update to the federal plan on ending homelessness and what that might mean for the Houston area. Our region can expect that individuals experiencing non-chronic homelessness will be one subpopulation of focus in the future. Brown and Thibaudeau reiterated the importance that all of the partners in this work need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to come to the table to end homelessness.


“We’ve proven that we have a greater impact when our voices are united, when we’re at the table together, and when we are working together toward our common goals,” said Brown.


The Coalition also announced the launch of The Way Home’s new Facebook page at the event. As lead agency to The Way Home, the Coalition will manage this new social media channel as a collective space where partners can share and post their success stories and how their organizations and staff are committing to the work to end homelessness through #2020AndBeyond! For more information about engaging on this new channel, visit our digital toolkit: https://bit.ly/TWHToolkit.

Mar 23, 2018

Housing for Harvey Update

Key to a New Beginning
Key to a New Beginning

To address the immediate needs of disaster shelter residents following Hurricane Harvey, multiple community partners enacted the Housing for Harvey program.

The Housing for Harvey program successfully transitioned more than 900 emergency shelter residents into housing either at New Hope Housing, Inc’s Residences on Emancipation program or in apartment units.

Those in apartment units signed six-month leases with landlords and had the full amount of their rent paid for that time. They also received intensive case management services, furniture and home goods.

As the Housing for Harvey program begins to close this spring, case management teams are working with everyone in the program to help them transition into their next housing options.

As leases end and as the Residences on Emancipation facility closes the Housing for Harvey program will be providing one-time financial assistance via a $500 cash card to help individuals and families with this transition.

Our work also includes the transition of individuals at Houston's Northline Location, which flooded during the storm. We are happy to report all clients have been safely moved and placed into new housing.
We are so very thankful to continue our work and as we look to a transition we know that Global Giving and their incredible community will be there to support any ongoing efforts.

The Way Home continues to house more than 40 individuals/families monthly. With your support, we are able to continue this work and purchase home goods, offer one-time financial assistance and purchase home essentials that clients need to begin their new lives.

Thank you all for being the Key to getting Houston back Home.

Dec 22, 2017

After Hurrican Harvey Link

Please see below link to our webiste on updates of our work. Without your support this would not be possible.

Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented storm with monumental impacts on Southeast Texas. The greater Houston area saw at least 51 inches of rain which flooded hundreds of thousands of families from their homes.

As the storm bore down upon our region, the Coalition for the Homeless began reaching out to other partners of The Way Home, the local homeless response system, to get accurate information on shelter and other services, and provide updates as frequently as possible via our website.

The Coalition was at the table with local governments, federal agencies (such as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] and the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]), the American Red Cross, and other organizations to create a program that would help those with the least amount of resources get out of shelter.

One of the many, daily lists of people and families approved for the Housing For Harvey Program.

The Coalition worked with Simtech Solutions to create an app that allowed us to triage the people remaining in disaster shelter. What we found was that a lot of the people still living in disaster shelters weeks after the storm, were likely living with family or friends before the storm, without leases in their name, under-resourced, and not immediately eligible for FEMA benefits – making it incredibly difficult for them to find their own way out of the disaster shelters.

The Housing For Harvey program provides guaranteed, six-month rental assistance and case management support to help families on the road to self-sufficiency. Dozens of local apartment properties offered hundreds of available units to the Housing For Harvey program, and in just over 40 days, more than 350 households were placed into apartments through the program. Each household also received a furniture package, a welcome kit with home goods, and a pantry basket from the Houston Food Bank.

After spending two months in disaster shelters, the work still isn’t over. We are still managing all of the un-glamorous work that goes into making a housing program work: aligning and securing funding, making sure paperwork is processed, paying landlords, coordinating case management, and more.

The Coalition also has an eye to the future, as other assistance options run out and programs end, our goal is to make sure that the Houston community does not see a new wave of homelessness emerge. We are already planning for our 2018 Homeless Count & Survey and while we won’t know the result before the Count happens, the data is sure to tell us quite a story.

The Way Home is a collaborative that doesn’t just dream big, but accomplishes big things. As lead agency to that collaborative, the Coalition’s goal is to always ensure that the work we have done and continue to do has helped the most vulnerable among us find stability.

 
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