Our Nashville community assisted over 2,500 people experiencing literal homelessness with permanent housing since the inception of the How’s Nashville partnership.
As we are coming to an end of the 2016 by 2016 campaign this December, it looks like we may reach out goal of housing 1,421 people who experience chronic homelessness or are otherwise considered extremely vulnerable while experiencing literal homelessness.
Our partners who work on ending Veterans homelessness have assisted more than 400 Veterans who experienced literal homelessness since the launch of the 2016 by 2016 campaign in January 2015.
CSH, a national organization that helps communities advance housing solutions, has developed a new data tool that shows the levels of need for supportive housing nationwide. The tool allows you to go in and look at each state’s unit needs. In addition, you can filter the tool by population.
The tool is as good as the data that we provide at the state level. In other words, if we, at the local level in Nashville are not confident in our data output because we still need to create more buy-in to share data community-wide, then we have to think critically about tools like these and work to improve our community data.
This is another reason for us here in Nashville to understand what sharing data can mean, why we need renewed efforts to gather quality community data, and how having good data can directly impact how we assist people who are in need of housing. Having strong community data allows us to advocate better for the people we serve.
“Housing First is an approach to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing without preconditions and barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation requirements,” according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Many Nashville direct service providers still shy away from Housing First because in our community we do not sufficiently explain what Housing First means. In comparison, California adopted a law last week that requires that all state-level funders and programs provide Housing First to anyone experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.
USICH recently distributed a Housing First check list that explains the core elements of a Housing First program and then explains the core elements of Housing First at the community level.
At the program level, a true Housing First program has low entry barriers, services are not tied to the right to housing, services offered are tenant-driven, etc.
Sam Tsemberis has built a program that serves as a national model for Housing First. His program called Pathways Housing First, He speaks about Housing First in this video clip.
Other Housing First programs may be known as permanent supportive housing or Rapid Re-housing, etc. Even emergency shelters can adopt a Housing First philosophy by focusing on offering services or linking people to services that assist them with permanent housing quickly.
At the community level, Housing First refers to creating a system that offers streamlined, user-friendly services with a housing-focus. In addition, community stakeholders from different sectors including policy makers, funders, and providers come together to develop common strategies for assisting people with housing.
In June 2016, after four months of planning, Nashville youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness providers came together to announce a new plan called The Key Action Plan: Opening Doors for Youth & Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness in Nashville.
It is important to understand that The Key Action Plan is not a strategic plan – rather, it is an 18-month, action-oriented plan that builds the starting point for developing a collaborative, comprehensive approach to addressing YYA homelessness in our city. The plan is aligned with the federal framework to end youth homelessness.
Since then, the community partners have shifted from planning to implementing the action steps outlined in the plan. Some of the updates include:
- Funding was secured to assist YYA who ask for help from Traveler’s Aid at the Rescue Mission to be reunited with family.
- LGBT cultural competency trainings are offered to local homelessness providers.
- Police officers started a pilot project to work closely with a street outreach team.
- Nashville participated in the Voices of Youth Count project, which will result in better local data on YYA homelessness.
- A team is working on coordinated entry for YYA to help improve access to appropriate services.
- YYA dedicated shelter beds will be offered on 7 days a week during the cold weather months.
- A community dinner will be held at Room In The Inn for YYA struggling with homelessness.
- Oasis Center and Urban Housing Solutions created a partnership to designate 19 units for permanent supportive housing opportunities for YYA.
- Workforce development discussions for youth in our city are including a focus on YYA experiencing homelessness.
Please check out the Website that contains information on The Key Action Plan and follow the effort on Facebook/KeyPlanNashville
A recent article lists 10 of the most influential people who have impacted the way we talk about homelessness in America today.
The How’s Nashville movement was created as the local effort in support of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which was led by Community Solutions. Rosanne Haggerty (pictured here), president and CEO of Community Solutions, is just one of the leaders featured in this article.
Groups who work toward preventing and ending homelessness for individuals, families with children, and unaccompanied youth, look to national leaders for ideas and guidance on how we can achieve our goals.
We all understand the importance of private funders in supporting the goals of the private sector. That’s why the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission is engaged in preliminary talks with funders who are interested in learning more about what roles private foundations play in other cities. We organized an initial exploratory call with Funders Together to End Homelessness after hearing them speak at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference in August.
Funders Together is a national nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance to local and regional funders who are interested in organizing around the goal of ending homelessness. What we learned in that call is that Nashville is in a great starting place with the Focus Strategies Report, which allows funders to have a starting discussion on the role they could play to implement a systemic approach to move Nashvillians out of homelessness.
The next steps? The Homelessness Commission will continue our conversation with local funders and if there is critical interest, we will help them link with resources available through Funders Together.