Checking In: Where Are We on Ending Chronic Homelessness?

A Recap:

In March, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced his continued support for The Way Home, the collaborative model to prevent and end homelessness in our area. The Mayor outlined steps the city would take to support The Way Home, including a push to house 500 chronically homeless individuals by September through increased outreach, Housing Navigation, landlord partnership, and more. Continue Reading

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More than a Dream: Willie’s Success Story

“Today is a blessed day,” Willie said as he climbed into the Star of Hope van. It was move-in day for him after six years of homelessness, most of them spent on the street. Willie had left his bag containing important paperwork at the shelter – it was evident the reality of what was happening hadn’t completely sunk in yet. Kenneth, a Star of Hope Outreach Case Manager, turned the van around to make one last trip back to the shelter for Willie’s belongings.

“You’re not coming back to the shelter,” said Kenneth. “Today is the day, Willie!”

“Today is a blessed day,” Willie repeated.

Continue Reading

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You’re Invited: Come and See Our Successes

Written by Cynthia Brannon, Executive Director
Houston COMPASS, Inc. (COMPASS)

During a recent meeting about the current efforts to end homelessness in Houston, someone remarked, “People only see the problems. They don’t see the successes.” That made sense to me, because how could the average observer see anything but the problems? There isn’t an intersection in Houston that doesn’t scream at us that someone is homeless, hungry, or in need of a job. And I’ve yet to see a cardboard sign that reads, “I used to be homeless, but Miss Lori at COMPASS in partnership with The Way Home helped me move into a nice apartment up the street.”

If I didn’t have the inside information that comes from working in homeless services for over 17 years, I wonder how this daily visual assault of desperation and cardboard would affect me. I suppose I would be heartbroken, judgmental, and sick of it all at once. I’d give money to some, but not to others. Would I figure out that some of these folks are not actually homeless? I might wonder, Gosh, why don’t the social workers get to work?

And I get that. Because it’s absolutely true that most of our successes are invisible. Continue Reading

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The Way Home Partners Featured on National Blog

June 1, 2017

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has featured The Way Home on its blog with two posts guest-authored by Houston-area service provider staff members.

Senior Research Project Manager Ana Rausch wrote a blog post titled “Coordinating Your Way Home in Houston,” about the creation and implementation of Coordinated Access. Ana writes, “The unprecedented collaboration of The Way Home partners has helped change the path toward ending homelessness for our community and it is something that we are all incredibly proud of.”

The second post featured on the USICH blog, “Houston Pilots Coordinated Entry for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence,” was co-authored by James Gonzalez, LMSW (Coalition for the Homeless) and Barbie Brashear, MSW (Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council). The pilot underway has been working on how to observe privacy laws under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) yet still ensure that Intimate Partner Violence survivors are connected to homeless resources when appropriate.

The Way Home continues to lead the nation on solving homelessness and we thank USICH for featuring our innovative work!

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2017 Homeless Count Shows Continued Decrease in Homelessness

May 24, 2017

2017_pit_2The Coalition for the Homeless, as lead agency to The Way Home, conducted the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count & Survey on January 23 of this year on behalf of The Way Home. This year’s results show a continued six-year trend in reducing homelessness, marking a 60% cumulative reduction since 2011. Data from the survey is used by The Way Home to gauge the progress and effectiveness of the local homeless response system.

In previous years, the Homeless Count & Survey encompassed Houston, Pasadena, Harris County, and Fort Bend County. In July 2016, Conroe and Montgomery County joined The Way Home, and the 2017 Count & Survey was conducted in that region for the first time this January. Continue Reading

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Houston’s most vulnerable homeless individuals get faster move-in at The Way Home’s Navigation Event

twh_nav_event_tags_032817As The Way Home strives to end chronic homelessness in Houston, strong partnerships bring us closer to our goal. Chronic homelessness requires a strategic response and most often, the work of multiple agencies to help our most vulnerable clients reach that final step: moving into Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH).

On Tuesday, March 28, The Way Home brought staff members from more than 20 partner agencies together at The Beacon in downtown Houston to help nearly 100 chronically homeless individuals fast-track through the housing process at a Navigation Event.

The Way Home chronic homelessness workgroup (led by the Coalition for the Homeless as lead agency to The Way Home), is keenly focused on three things: securing more housing, refining Coordinated Access (the system-wide housing intake process), and accelerating move-in. To support faster move-ins, the workgroup brought clients and providers together in one place to complete a process that can currently take more than 60 days – in just one day. Continue Reading

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The Way Home works to knock down barriers for homeless families

Angela and her two young children were living in a vehicle in a local Wal-Mart parking lot; not only was Angela wary of her and her children’s safety at local shelters, but she was working and faced conflicts with the shelter hours, her job, and childcare. Denise and her three-year old son had the odds stacked against them: Denise was a sexual assault survivor, had a dual diagnosis of Depression and Bipolar Disorder, and was having trouble finding emergency shelter.  Continue Reading

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City Pursues Strategies for Homeless, Panhandlers

City of Houston Media Alert, Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner
March 2, 2017

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a more holistic approach to reducing homelessness on March 2 and invited the community to help implement it. The Mayor’s plan involves expedited efforts to permanently house the homeless, more shelter beds, new public health and safety regulations and an anti-panhandling awareness campaign.

“Houston has achieved significant reductions in homelessness in recent years, but I am committed to doing even more,” said Mayor Turner. “It is simply not acceptable for people to live on the streets; it is not good for them, and it is not good for the city. We will tackle this complicated issue, and we will do it humanely with a meaningful approach that balances the needs ofr the homeless and the concerns of neighborhoods they impact. We will need everyone’s patience and help to make it work.”

Click here to read the full press release.

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