Types of Housing Assistance Available in Asheville:
Monthly Utility Payments
One-Time Rent Payments
Monthly Rent Payments, 1-4 months
Monthly Rent Payments up to 24 months
Ongoing Housing Subsidy
..intensity, amount & duration depend on client need
How things got rolling:
Homeless Initiative Advisory
Committee brainstormed ways to fill gaps in
housing & services for the chronically
Members on the Committee:
Local Agencies supporting people experiencing homelessness (services & financial assistance)
People experiencing homelessness
City Council member
County Appointed staff member
Housing First in Action
Chronic Homeless = one year or more OR 4 or more episodes in 3 with a disabling condition
Extremely vulnerable population
High needs with very limited resources
Housing is key intervention
Targeted for programs that meet individual needs.
The initial conversation:
Housing First concept was new
Resources were fragmented
Housing Authority already had many projects/programs
A few lead agencies decided to document outcomes of their work with people experiencing chronic homelessness.
One step at a time..
Data showed over 90% retention rate.
Housing Authority’s partnered with a Shelter Plus Care & redevelopment of a building for formerly homeless tenants engaged leadership
City’s CDBG and HOME funds directed towards a chronic homeless project.
City of Asheville
Prioritized goals through Consolidated Plan
Consortium Board reviewed & recommended funding.
Asheville City Council approved funding request by community agency annually.
City monitored, evaluated, and reported on program outcomes and activities to the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee.
Worked to develop trust-worthy partnerships among providers.
Advocated with clients in areas of background checks with entities like the Housing Authority
Held “Landlord Luncheons” to teach existing landlords about tenant/landlord rights and the benefits of Housing First Programs.
Participated in dialogue with the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee
Offered a preference if case management could be guaranteed after a person received housing subsidy
Participated in housing first trainings, worked with VASH and other housing programs.
Agency’s Role: Implementation
Develop a transparent program
Target funds to case management & rent
Outreach to eligible tenants
Ensure eligibility of tenants
Evaluate for affordable & quality housing
Housing Stabilization Case Management services support the person to carry out their sustainability plan
Follow-up to monitor tenant success
Monthly meetings review progress of the project,
invite new members as needed, and work directly
with potential tenants:
Homeless Advisory Committee
City Staff (Police, Sanitation, Parks & Rec)
County Staff (DSS, Jail Diversion)
VA (Jail Outreach, VASH)
Goal: Directly impact the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness. 1. Monthly group meetings identify the most vulnerable people and each partner affirms their role in helping with housing and supports. 2. Outreach workers work with people who are chronically homeless and ask them if they would like to participate in the program. 3. Individuals develop a housing plan and apply to the Housing Authority with the support of Housing Stabilization Case Managers, develop a housing plan and and apply to the Housing Authority. 4. If the person is denied , they are have case is reviewed and if they can show that they are actively working with a program, the priority is applied.
But…does it work?
55 people who HAD experienced chronic homelessness are now in public housing or receiving housing choice voucher support through this program.
(+90% retention rate)
This works great because…
Allows client-choice in housing selection
Helps maintain affordable rental housing in the community
Provides incentive to landlords to overlook credit/criminal backgrounds
Serves as “bridge” while tenants obtain SSI/SSDI, employment, or other mainstream support
Paired w/other assistance is immediate until client accesses public housing/housing choice vouchers
Clients can seek support through support services without losing their rent assistance .
“ Until you get it, you don’t get it. Three years ago, I just couldn’t see it working. Now I can’t imagine this project *not* existing”