Instituting a community wide housing first approach in norfolk
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Instituting A Community-Wide Housing First Approach in Norfolk. Presentation by Katie Kitchin Office to End Homelessness Norfolk, VA. Presentation Overview. Background on our system and its history Why/How we decided to make a change What our system looks like now Outcomes to date

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Instituting A Community-Wide Housing First Approach in Norfolk

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Instituting a community wide housing first approach in norfolk

Instituting A Community-Wide Housing First Approach in Norfolk

Presentation by Katie Kitchin

Office to End Homelessness

Norfolk, VA


Presentation overview

Presentation Overview

  • Background on our system and its history

  • Why/How we decided to make a change

  • What our system looks like now

  • Outcomes to date

  • Projections forward

  • Lessons learned


The short story on norfolk

The Short Story on Norfolk

  • Norfolk serves as the urban core for Southeastern Virginia (population of Norfolk = 240,000, population of region = 1.2 million)

  • Norfolk has high poverty (18%), but improving (down from 20%) as downtown redevelopment and economy thrives (less than 4% unemployment, AMI up).

  • Homeless population = 540 (down from 665 last year)

  • Regional homeless number is 1500.


The norfolk system pre rapid exit

The Norfolk System Pre-Rapid Exit

  • Strong family homeless service providers; but fragmented service delivery.

  • Families experience intensive/effective services in shelter/transitional housing environment but little support after exit when stressors return.

  • Families connected to services as a result of abuse/neglect.


Why we decided to make a change

Why We Decided to Make a Change…

  • Situation for families was difficult: had to call many agencies over and over seeking help.

  • Dozens of families were turned away daily; hotel utilization was expensive and ineffective.

  • Length of stay in shelter was two months or more.

  • City adopted a ten year plan to end homelessness which included central intake and rapid exit.


How we started the process

How We Started the Process

  • 2004, DHS begins to adopt Director’s mission – HART is created.

  • 25 families expected, 1,000 come in the first month.

  • Site visit to Hennepin County in 2005 included Family Shelter ExDir, and City staff.

  • DHS/City leadership strongly supportive of Home-Based services, family preservation, etc.

  • Providers given role to develop program elements.

  • January 2007, Central Intake launched.


What we look like now

What We Look Like Now

  • One call will result in shelter intake, eviction pre-vention, family pres. services.

  • Average 800 families/month

  • Average 26 shelter placements;hotel utilization down to 0.

  • Communications have greatlyimproved.

  • All families who exit shelter are guaranteed access to first month’s rent/deposit assistance.

  • Housing Broker Team (2 FTEs) with case management to begin in early August.


What data tells us about homeless families

What Data Tells Us About Homeless Families


Using shelter stay as a screening tool

Using Shelter Stay As A Screening Tool

  • All families must agree to accept a shelter placement (should one be available) in order to receive financial assistance.

  • 45% of families refused.


Challenges we are facing

Challenges We Are Facing

  • Of 88 families tracked, 27 were already receiving services, only 7 more became engaged with services (SA,MH, and family pres.)

  • Only those court-mandated participate regularly.

  • Families still struggling to maintain housing.


Other results projecting forward

Other Results/Projecting Forward

  • Family Homelessness held constant or decreasing slightly; dramatic difference in neighboring cities.

  • Evictions drop dramatically (3000 in 2005 to 1300 in 2006).

  • Pressure growing on housing-based case management.

  • HUD funding for services presents a major issue.

  • Public Housing/Section 8 subsidies in high demand (NRHA serves est. 16,000 people, 36,000 people are below poverty) waiting lists closed for several years.

  • Evolving role of homeless service providers, securing connections with Child Welfare, MH/SA services a must!

  • Prediction $4 million in additional expenditures through child welfare system – State may look to restrict funds.


Lessons learned

Lessons Learned

  • Leadership from funders is essential.

  • Take the time to listen/understand the viewpoints of stakeholders.

  • Slow progress is okay!


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