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.

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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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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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Coalition for the Homeless Announces New Leadership in Montgomery County, Expanded Leadership in Fort Bend County

November 26, 2016

After receiving overwhelmingly positive results in the 2016 Homeless Count earlier this year, the Coalition for the Homeless has announced its services expansion into Montgomery County and Conroe as well as enhanced services in Fort Bend County as a part of its leadership to The Way Home. Click here to read the full press release.

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JPMorgan Chase Commits $1 million to The Way Home to Fight Homelessness in Houston

October 20, 2016

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced a $1 million grant from JPMorgan Chase to support Houston’s ambitious efforts to end chronic homelessness through The Way Home, the collaborative model to prevent and end homelessness in Houston, Pasadena, Conroe; and Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties. The award makes JPMorgan Chase the first corporate donor to support The Way Home’s development of Permanent Supportive Housing for homeless Houstonians.

The Way Home has now raised $7 million toward its $15 million goal to finish creating 2,500 units of housing for chronically homeless individuals. Chronically homeless individuals are those who have been homeless for a year or more and have a disabling condition.

“JPMorgan Chase’s support is more than just a grant, and it’s more than just about getting the homeless off our streets. It’s an investment in solving homelessness and changing the lives of homeless Houstonians,” said Mayor Turner. “The Houston region is on track to end chronic homelessness, but we need the community’s support to cross the finish line.”

Click here to read the full press release.

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The Way Home Hits Milestone: 57% Reduction in Homelessness Since 2011

Photo Jan 26, 1 46 01 PMThe Coalition for the Homeless (as lead agency to The Way Home) conducted the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count & Survey from January 25-28 of this year. This year’s results show The Way Home continuing a five-year trend in reducing homelessness, marking a one-year reduction of 21% since 2015 and a 57% cumulative reduction since 2011. The annual Count is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for The Way Home’s federal funding. The Way Home encompasses Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, and Fort Bend County. Continue Reading

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Houston Area Receives $32 Million in Housing Funds for Homeless Programs from HUD

On Monday, May 2, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made its FY2015 Continuum of Care Program Competition Tier Two grant awards announcement. The Way Home Continuum of Care (CoC) will receive funding for all of its Tier Two new project requests made during the FY 2015 CoC competition. When combined with Tier One renewal and planning awards (which were announced in March 2016), our system will receive $32,098,014 in federal funding for 45 local homeless housing and service programs in Houston, Pasadena, Harris County, and Fort Bend County. This is an $8.4 million increase in funding from 2014, and every project that applied for funding in the 2015 competition was awarded. Continue Reading

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2016 Count & Survey Takes a “Deep Dive” Approach for Improved Results

The greater Houston area is leading the nation in reducing homelessness, becoming the national model for other cities. Our Continuum of Care (CoC) was formalized in 2012 and launched The Way Home in 2014 to bring more than 70 partners together. With hurdles still ahead, we’ve comprehensively tackled homelessness and the results show tremendous progress has been made.

Comparing the Counts 2011_2015A key research indicator in solving homelessness is the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count, a requirement of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the local CoC funding process. The Homeless Count provides agencies with hard data about the number and characteristics of the area’s homeless community on a given night. This helps The Way Home further its work to right-size the homeless response system. Continue Reading

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