When it comes to ending homelessness, we’re on a deadline

The United Way has been leading the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness since it was adopted by the City of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in 2006. Chosen for our expertise and capacity to leverage community resources and coordinate collaborative projects, we’re focused on our community’s vision to end chronic homelessness and improve the system for all people experiencing a housing crisis.

Through Housing First, we’re moving from a shelter-centered system to a housing-centered system, emphasizing housing over social services as the first step to ending homelessness.

The Challenges:

Only 42% of the homeless population are employed: For many low wage workers, the large disparity between their income and the cost of living forces their families to chose between paying for basic necessities like food and medication or paying for their housing.

A lack of access to stable income: For people living on the streets, it is difficult to maintain employment or access disability-related benefits that could serve to stabilize their housing and financial situation.

A high rate of disability and a lack of access to affordable healthcare: Continuous changes to the mental health system create a lack of continuity impacting quality of care.

The good news?

Over the last year, we saw a 40% decrease in the number of people who were homeless on the night of the point-in-time count, including a 30% decrease in the shelter populations.

Veteran homelessness went from 15% to 8% of the homeless population.

From 2005 to 2013, there was a 67% decrease in the number of chronically homeless individuals identified during the Point-in-Time Count. Significant changes leading to this result include:

Greater availability of permanent supportive housing units. 545 units have been added to the system since TYP was adopted in 2006, which is 91% of the project’s goal.

System priority changes, including adopting a Housing First approach.

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