Homelessness Allies Delve Deep into Data to Highlight Needs
Safe and Affordable Housing for Every Wake County Resident
RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 29, 2021 — In a given year, approximately 3,500 households in Wake County are newly experiencing or stuck in homelessness. Significant barriers include the lack of safe, permanent, and affordable housing in a rental market with skyrocketing prices along with a global pandemic that increased economic hardships.
An essential, new workgroup with the Raleigh Wake Continuum of Care (CoC) researched and combed through recent data revealing substantial gaps in serving the homeless population. The Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness (Partnership) facilitated the workgroup comprised of local county and city housing officials, law enforcement, social service providers and those with lived experience. Realizing the immediate need to reevaluate where to focus efforts and identify gaps in the current system, the workgroup analyzed the data to determine the optimal combination of housing and services so that homelessness becomes rare, brief and nonrecurring. Shelters are currently over capacity due to the bottleneck of limited housing solutions in Wake County. To guarantee enough shelter beds are available for those in need, our system must invest in long-term permanent housing options to increase system flow out of shelters and into homes.
To ensure an efficient method that moves individuals and families through the crisis response system into stable housing situations, the CoC workgroup concluded our community needs more Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), Rapid Rehousing (RRH) and subsidized, affordable housing. The data showed there are a variety of pathways through homelessness, but most people will need some form of housing assistance to exit homelessness. Right now, there is not enough safe, affordable, permanent housing to offer people experiencing homelessness in our community.
While the gaps discovered demonstrate there is daunting work ahead, the data revealed a strategic path with specific goals to achieve. To end homelessness today in Wake County, the current need for PSH, RRH, and affordable units already tops 2,000. Over the next five years, the demand for subsidized, affordable housing alone is projected to grow to almost 3,000 units.
Raleigh Wake CoC Prioritizes to Fill in The Gaps
The numbers revealed it’s time to focus on where investments will have the most significant impact and how to fill these gaps strategically. The workgroup presented the information to the CoC Governance Board. The CoC Governance Board comprises the community’s collective networks, institutions and organizations that provide housing and services to those at-risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness. The CoC voted on prioritizing the goals, with the first priorities focused on investing in safe, permanent, affordable housing, including:
- Ramping up PSH development (scattered site and congregate)
- Continuing to secure Subsidized Housing preferences for people experiencing homelessness
- Investing to fully scale up Rapid Re-Housing
Along with investing in safe, permanent, affordable housing, the CoC agreed to investigate and implement front-end supportive services to help people more rapidly exit homelessness.
Utilizing this data is vital to show community partners how and where our area struggles to meet an overwhelming need. Even if it’s not possible to fill all of the gaps, this data is crucial to set Wake County on the right path to end and prevent homelessness. “Housing first is an integral step at breaking the cycle of homelessness. It is essential we provide Emergency Shelter for those experiencing homelessness, but that won’t solve the issue. We have to look at our community and who we are and how we work together,” said Kim Crawford, the Partnership’s Executive Director. “This data helps us bring everybody to the table to work more closely because resources are so limited, and the disparity gaps will only grow wider.”
To Read the full 2021 Gaps Analysis Report, visit https://wakecoc.org/2021-gaps-analysis/.
Find out more about where the gaps are in Wake County and what needs to be done to fill them.
About The Raleigh Wake Continuum of Care (CoC)
The Raleigh Wake County CoC plans, develops, and implements comprehensive and coordinated strategies across funding sources and systems to address homelessness in Raleigh/Wake County. The CoC is governed by a board composed of community members invested in the issue of homelessness. The CoC Board is an independent entity, but is not incorporated, so must appoint a local entity to conduct business on behalf of the Board and CoC at large. The Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness is appointed as the Lead Agency, Collaborative Applicant, HMIS Administrator, and Coordinated Access System Lead. To find out more about our work, visit https://wakecoc.org/.
About The Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness
The Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness (Partnership) leads a collaborative network of community partners focused on solutions to end and prevent homelessness in our community. The Partnership’s mission is to leverage the power of community to address systemic causes of homelessness through coordinated response, education, data, and advocacy, so every Wake County resident can have safe and affordable housing. To find out more about our work or to make a monetary investment in ending homelessness today, visit https://partnershipwake.org/.