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

Instituting A Community-Wide Housing First Approach in Norfolk

Presentation by Katie Kitchin

Office to End Homelessness

Norfolk, VA


Presentation overview
Presentation Overview Norfolk

  • 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

  • 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 Norfolk

  • 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… Norfolk

  • 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 Norfolk

  • 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 Norfolk

  • 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.



Using shelter stay as a screening tool
Using Shelter Stay As A Screening Tool Norfolk

  • 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 Norfolk

  • 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 Norfolk

  • 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 Norfolk

  • Leadership from funders is essential.

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

  • Slow progress is okay!


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