City with Dwellings, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Empowerment Project and the United Way’s Housing Matter’s Initiative have joined forces to create the Housing, Emergency Assistance, Rapid Response Team aka HEARRT Team. This collaboration builds on the strength of each partner and is focused on ending the cycle of chronic homelessness in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for people who have been living on the streets.
The HEARRT approach combines housing with consistent, supportive services and resources as an immediate intervention for highly vulnerable and chronically homeless persons in our community. To qualify for HEARRT individuals must be identified through street outreach and referred by the Community Intake Center. The Community Intake Center is a project of the WSFC Continuum of Care which helps prioritize access to supportive housing services to the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.
The HEARRT team has four apartments, conveniently located so residents have access to grocery stores, medical care and other services. The first resident moved in June 28th. City with Dwellings employs a peer support specialist who will live on-site to provide 24-hour assistance to people living in the HEARRT units. They will also partner with the case managers from the Empowerment Project who provide intensive case management to support residents as they work towards stability in both their housing and health. The Team will connect residents to needed services such as mental and physical health care, transportation to food pantries and clothing closets, as well as opportunities for engagement in the community.
Andrea Kurtz, Senior Director, Housing Strategies for United Way of Forsyth County notes, “As we continue our work to eradicate chronic homelessness in our community, this initiative is a tremendous milestone. This collaboration allows for each partner to bring to the table their strengths and we can optimize the capacity of each partner to end the cycle of chronic homelessness”.
United Way Forsyth County President and CEO, Cindy Gordineer said, “This is truly an exciting opportunity for our entire community and it opens the door for everyone working to end chronic homelessness to boost organizational efficiency, increase organizational effectiveness, and drive broader social and systems changes.”
United Way of Forsyth County brings the community and its resources together to solve problems that no one organization can address alone.
More information about the partners:
City with Dwellings’ Community First approach is built on a model of supportive community. Its work is highly participatory and consistent with restorative practices. Research has shown that being part of a community positively impacts an individual’s path to self-determination, independence, and empowerment. City with Dwellings believes it is more effective to work with and alongside individuals rather than doing things for them. These restorative practices strengthen relations between individuals as well as social connections within communities. Developing relationships of trust and engaging the wider community in our work enables City with Dwellings to effectively facilitate a coordinated community response to help house individuals and reduce recidivism back into homelessness. For more information about City with Dwellings: Contact Tracy Mohr 336-577-8648, email@example.com
The Empowerment Project (TEP) assists adults wishing to exit homelessness by helping them access mental health and/or substance abuse services, primary health care, and other resources, via a community-based model of managedcare that supports naturalinteraction among clients, local providers andstakeholders, to identify and provide for that population’s unmet needs. Housed at the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Dept. of Psychiatry, but working closely with the FaithHealth Division and Public Health Sciences, the very small staff of TEP have provided outreach services to over 1,500 persons and case management to approximately 1000 persons of record since 2011. TEP behavioral specialist staff are deeply respected in this community, by both other provider and agency stakeholders and consumers alike. They serve a niche in the community that few other groups do (e.g., visit outdoor sites where homeless live, provide rides to hearings or shelters) and work diligently to support homeless persons in a wrap-around recovery and strengths model. Providing both outreach and case management as part of the HEARRT team, TEP’s behavioral specialists also will provide client assistance in terms of completion of applications for various programs and resources (e.g., employment or disability), client identification, bus passes, birth certificates and other services. For more information about The Empowerment Project contact Teresa Cutts: firstname.lastname@example.org
greeNest provides household furnishings to individuals and families transitioning to sustainable housing. Volunteers sort, clean and organize furniture and household goods that have been donated by the community and tastefully stage a “showroom” from which participants make selections. Caseworkers from over 60 partnering agencies connect individuals and families in need. Participants, accompanied by their caseworkers, choose donated items that best suit their needs and preferences, respecting them to make their own choices. Participants then become “owners,” not merely “recipients.” For more information on greeNest contact: Julia Toone: email@example.com
The United Way’s Housing Matter’s initiative provides support to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Continuum of Care in implementing its vision to, “end chronic homelessness and improve the system of care for all people experiencing a housing crisis.” As a part of this work the Housing Matter’s team leads the implementation of the CoC’s Community Intake Center, which is a process by which people experiencing homelessness are matched to housing programs based on their needs and vulnerability. For more information on United Way’s Housing Matters work contact: Andrea Kurtz, 336-577-6826, firstname.lastname@example.org