Jun 12, 2011

Jake Maguire's picture Posted By Jake Maguire

Where We Stand: June 2011

It's been an amazing month for our efforts to house 100,000 vulnerable homeless people by July of 2013. Since our last update, the Campaign has added two new communities, and now includes 85 communities nationwide. These communities have reported 1,186 new permanent housing placements, raising the Campaign’s total reported number housed to 9,003.

Thanks to Campaign partner UNITY of Greater New Orleans, street homelessness has finally begun to fall in that city. Hollywood, CA celebrated the end of its first year with the Campaign, during which it housed more than 30 people and raised nearly $1 million. Philadelphia also held its Registry Week, where Mayor Michael Nutter pledged to make the city the first in America to end homelessness.

"It’s been an amazing month,” said Campaign Director Becky Kanis. "As we get closer to our first anniversary, our housing count is rising faster than ever, and we’re starting to see new support at the highest levels of government, philanthropy and the business community.”

Kanis especially commended the Campaign’s Gold Star communities who reported their latest round of housing placement numbers in May: Contra Costa County, CA; Pasco County, CA; Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA; Chicago, IL; Fort Collins, CO; Omaha, NE; San Fernando Valley/Van Nuys, CA; and Skid Row in Los Angeles.

Homelessness in New Orleans spiked 70 percent in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but in the last two years, it has fallen by 10 percent thanks to the work of local Campaign leaders. That was the news reported last week by UNITY of Greater New Orleans, the Campaign’s local partner organization. UNITY has helped to housed more than 1,000 people since joining the Campaign and currently boasts one of the highest housing placement rates in the country.

Hollywood, CA celebrated its 1-year Campaign anniversary at a community briefing in mid-May. Local business leaders revealed that Campaign partner Hollywood4WRD has housed 35 people in that time, with 25 more in the pipeline to be housed imminently. Representatives from the group also announced a year-end total of nearly $800,000 in grants and donations, putting to rest any fears that Hollywood would prove unable to fund its ongoing Campaign effort.

The city of Philadelphia, PA held a major Registry Week near the end of May, during which 250 volunteers braved rain and cold weather in the predawn hours to compile a by-name, and –photo database of people living on the streets.  Participants in the event surveyed 528 individuals in Philadelphia, identifying more than 51% of them as facing increased risk of death.  The city housed the first individual off of the registry that same week, but not before Mayor Michael Nutter promised to make it the first city in the US to end homelessness.

In the month ahead, the Campaign is looking forward to bringing together housing policymakers from the VA and local housing authorities in Los Angeles to begin streamlining the housing placement system for homeless veterans. In mid-July, the Campaign will celebrate its 1-year anniversary at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference in Washington, DC. At that time, we will release new numbers from our growing national database and a full report on where we stand and where we’re headed.