Ending Homelessness Academy
The issue of homelessness is complex and ever-changing, which means educating service providers and our community on challenges and best practices for solutions is vital.
The Partnership founded the Ending Homelessness Academy (EHA) to provide education and foster greater understanding.
The EHA provides frontline staff, managers, and community leadership intensive training and support from national experts. The courses offer a menu of homelessness response topics that provide participants with excellent foundational knowledge and strategies for ending homelessness in Wake County.
One particular course is our NC 507 Onboarding Essentials Class. This two-hour training covers what it means to be homeless and why we follow a Housing First model. It also covers the most common types of services in a care system, where funding comes from and how funding decisions are made, why racial equity and inclusion matter, and many other important aspects to understanding the
homeless and marginally housed.
We continue to add, update, and curate educational opportunities, training, and collaborative meetings. In addition, our 2022 course load will focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion at a systems level.
Collaboration, communication, and coordination yields results.
“I had the opportunity to attend the 2021 Ending Homelessness Academy. I am a member of the Raleigh Police Department’s Homeless and Mental Health Crisis Response Unit, “ACORNS”. I found the academy to be very informative. I feel that I will benefit from all the sessions presented. The trainers did an excellent job of presenting all the sessions. It was clear they are very passionate and experienced when talking about the lived experience. Excellent training!”
Detective Wendy Clark,
Raleigh Police Department
The Partnership’s Access Hub serves as a Coordinated Access Point for Wake County connecting those at-risk or experiencing homelessness to our partner service providers for help and intervention services.
Designed as an inclusive and welcoming system, the Access Hub streamlines the process for both those in need and our partner organizations. When a person in crisis calls the Access Hub hotline, our compassionately trained staff works with them to assess needs and make referrals to other providers for services.
Every day, our staff listens to desperate stories and pleas for where to turn for help. The call center eliminates the need for that person to call multiple agencies when struggling with a crisis. The data we collect is shared with the service providers so they can serve the person more efficiently without duplicating efforts.
The Access Hub frequently makes referrals to programs such as:
- Emergency Shelter
- Street Outreach
- Financial Assistance Programs to Prevent Homelessness
Our impact with this service proved crucial with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The adversities created by the pandemic touched everyone, but many found themselves confronting hardships they never dreamed they would face.
“Prior to the Access Hub’s existence, each shelter and program held it’s own individual waitlist and we found that clients were getting pushed from one place to another to find the services they needed. The Access Hub allows for our community to have a centralized place for clients to access all the resources they are in need of. A huge benefit to both the agency and the client.”
Stephen Gruver, Salvation Army of Wake County
The Homeless Management Information System or “HMIS” is a vitally essential computer data system that helps Raleigh and Wake County agencies provide services to those in our community who have unstable housing. Agencies that use HMIS include street outreach, drop-ins, shelters and housing programs.
HMIS is used to:
- Report to funders. Program-level reporting via HMIS is required by several federal and state funders.
- Assess community and statewide responses to homelessness. Individual program data is aggregated to identify trends such as: changes in the number and characteristics of people experiencing homelessness; the length of time people spend homeless in a given community; and returns to homelessness after exiting a program.
- Facilitate service delivery. Coordinated Entry referrals and priority lists are primarily made and maintained in HMIS, such as access to single adult shelters.
- Support research and advocacy efforts.
The Partnership HMIS Help Desk:
- Responds to HMIS Governance Committee directives
- Oversees day-to-day administration of HMIS, providing staffing, training, and technical support
- Regularly reviews data quality and reports to CoC and HMIS GovernanceCommittee.
“The Partnership’s HMIS team has been a great partner in working with the City of Raleigh to help set up HUD-required HMIS pages for the agencies we fund, assisting in running required reports, and providing guidance on the data points we should focus.”
John Niffenegger, City of Raleigh Housing & Neighborhoods Department
The Partnership is appointed as the Lead Agency of the CoC to conduct business on behalf of the CoC Governance Board and Membership.
As part of CoC leadership, the Partnership also serves as the CoC Collaborative Applicant and is charged with facilitating a transparent, performance-based local competition for around $3,400,000 in federal funds allocated to our community. Through writing the Collaborative Application, we are charged with strategically positioning our community for additional funding opportunities.
A CoC is the collective of public and private entities that are dedicated to making homelessness, rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Federally mandated goals of the CoC include:
- Promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness;
- Secure funding for efforts to quickly re-house individuals and families who are homeless, which minimizes the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness;
- Optimize the homeless response system using Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data and reporting to assess gaps, disparities, and solutions.
“I have been consistently impressed with the vision, expertise and responsiveness the Partnership team has brought to our CoC. In a short period of time, with the added barriers of the pandemic, they have brought us from being essentially non existent to a fully functioning CoC with a unified mission, structure and functioning membership. I’m exceedingly grateful for the support they provide. They have worked with purpose and determination to help improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Wake County.“
Marni Cahill, CoC Governance Board Chair
Read the next section: