June/July 2018 Newsletter

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Your Way Home hosted it's 6th Annual Your Way Home Summit: Advancing Equity, on June 8th at the Montgomery County Community College.  The Annual Summit provides an opportunity for many of our core providers, community partners, funders, landlords, and consumers to hear about the progress we’ve made in ending homelessness over the past year, and the work that we plan to do moving forward to accelerate our impact.
This year’s Summit provided much to celebrate:

  • A 37% reduction in homelessness since 2014, as measured by our annual Point in Time Count, including a 50% reduction in homelessness among families with children.
  • An increase in the percentage of people exiting homeless shelters directly to permanent housing to 57%, up from 35% prior to Your Way Home launching, and
  • A success rate of 85% overall- meaning that of the people we help to move to permanent housing, 85% do not return to homelessness within at least 2 years.

These accomplishments are due to the efforts of our community members who have worked so hard to move the needle on these challenging issues, by embracing strategies like Coordinated Entry, housing-focused Emergency Shelters, Housing Resource Centers, strong connections to Supportive Services in our community, and a partnership structure that includes voices from across sectors to guide our common agenda.

Our commitment to adopting strategies related to homelessness prevention, addressing the affordable housing crisis, and equity, in addition to reaffirming our commitment to ending literal homelessness were announced during the summit.  The topic of Racial Equity as a Sustainable Practice to Ending Homelessness was woven throughout our keynote presentation, by Jeff Olivet, as well as our main stage commentary.  The equity panel discussion, lead by Jason Alexander, Senior Policy Adviser for Your Way Home highlighted the intersections of equity and homelessness in various sectors of our population.  Panelists included: Vanessa Briggs of Brandywine Health Foundation, Sidney Hargro of Philanthropy Network, Kim Krauter of Advanced Living Communities and Jeff Olivet of Center for Social Innovation (also the keynote speaker).   

The second half of the Summit gave attendees the opportunity to attend breakout sessions.  Each session interwove the overarching theme of equity into their discussions.  The breakout session topics were:  "Homelessness & Eviction Prevention",  Your Way Home: The Story and the Numbers",  "The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Accelerating Change",  "Achieving a Collective Impact through Systems Change", and "What’s Gender Equity Got To Do With It?".

Your Way Home also presented three Champions for Change Awards recognizing the outstanding contributions from key individuals across different sectors of our partnership. The 2018 Champions for Change were: 

Allegra Cressman, Executive Director, Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line
The Honorable Margaret Hunsicker, Magisterial District Judge, Montgomery County
Russell Johnson, President & CEO, HealthSpark Foundation

For more information on Your Way Home's equity initiative and to view more pictures from the Summit, please click here.   

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In the past four years, Your Way Home has created and adopted the core strategies known to be effective in ending homelessness: adopting a housing first approach, coordinated entry, and rapid re-housing, among others. The next step in this process is an effort to proactively combat, in meaningful and authentic ways, the impact of historical and ongoing discrimination in housing practices by adopting equity as a core strategy in our work to end homelessness. Your Way Home will begin its work on equity by developing a better understanding of our system’s role in perpetuating the disproportionate impact of homelessness on certain demographic groups in Montgomery County.  Further, we will work to discover ways in which our partnership can mitigate and overcome these challenges. Your Way Home has engaged the Center for Social Innovation, a consulting firm responsible for the SPARC initiative (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities) in order to conduct an Equity Evaluation of Your Way Home’s partnership. 

This work will represent the first step, as a public-private partnership, to begin outlining how we might meaningfully address the impact of discrimination and institutional racism in our partnership moving forward.

On Tuesday, July 10th, Your Way Home hosted an Equity Forum, led by Jeff Olivet and Lunise Joseph of Center for Social Innovation.  The Forum was the first opportunity for our partners in this work to hear from Your Way Home providers and friends regarding their experiences with racial inequity.  During their time in Montgomery County, our partners at Center for Social Innovation met with decision makers, outward facing provider staff, and consumers to gain their feedback and insight into the interactions they are experiencing as individuals of color in Montgomery County. 

Your Way Home will continue to report out on the data and research we find during this partnership.  Please continue to check for updates on our Equity web page and through our e-newsletter.  


Equitable Access to Economic Opportunities

An estimated 50,000 Montgomery County residents are faced with housing instability each year due to the high cost of housing, and low or stagnant wages for many workers. Historically underserved populations, such as people of color, people with disabilities, women, and the LGBTQ community, are more likely to experience housing instability than other populations due to barriers to economic advancement.

Your Way Home is hosting a Forum on Equitable Access to Economic Opportunities to understand the challenges to economic mobility faced by these populations. The forum will highlight programs and employers that are working in unique ways to assist individuals that have experienced barriers to employment.  The keynote and  panel discussion will focus on equity as it relates to economic opportunity and mobility, access to supportive employment programs, and increasing outcomes for underserved populations. 

For more information and to register, please click here.

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Recycled Rides is a nationwide community service project of the National Auto Body Council in which insurers, collision repairers, paint suppliers and others collaborate to repair and donate vehicles to families and deserving service organizations.

In the Recycled Rides program, insurance companies donate the vehicles, parts and paint manufacturers donate the materials, and local auto body shops donate the labor to repair them. 

Keystone Opportunity Center, a Your Way Home Housing Resource Center,  applied to Recycled Rides on behalf of a family in the program.  The family was homeless and staying at a participating Your Way Home shelter.  Despite experiencing  more than 6 months of housing instability, the mother worked hard to provide a sense of stability for her family.   She felt it was important to make sure her son was enrolled in kindergarten and did not want their life circumstances to keep him from moving forward.  This meant bundling up three little ones in the winter and walking her son to and from school every day.  

With the addition of a vehicle this mother now has access to services that aid her children's emotional and education needs as well as the tools she needs to keep a full-time job.  Access to transportation is a game changer for many families living in poverty.  Families with cars are more likely to find a job and to stay employed.  Unreliable transportation is one of the primary reasons why individuals lose their jobs. 

Thank you to our partners at Keystone Opportunity Center for making this request a reality! 


PA-504 FY 2018 CoC Program Competition: New Project Application

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Your Way Home Montgomery County PA-504 CoC anticipates having $184,392 available for new Rapid Re-Housing projects. Populations to be served in order of priority include:

• Rapid Re-Housing for families and/or single adults.
• Rapid Re-Housing for youth aged 18 – 24.
• Joint TH and RRH component project for Transitional Age Youth aged 18 – 24.

Additionally, Your Way Home Montgomery County PA-504 CoC anticipates having up to$307,319 available for project(s) that are dedicated to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  Project types may include:

• RRH - Rapid Rehousing

To access the new project application, please click here

For more CoC Program Competition information and instructions, please visit the Continuum of Care page on the Your Way Home website by clicking  here.

2018 Home4Good New Project Application

Home4Good is a collaborative initiative between the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank Pittsburgh) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) to provide grants to address systemic gaps in support and services and help make homelessness in the Commonwealth rare, brief and nonrecurring. 
Home4Good is designed to support projects, programs or activities in Pennsylvania that lead to stable housing for individuals and families who are currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  
The PA-504 Continuum of Care (CoC) administers this program in Montgomery County. The deadline for submitting applications is August 24, 2018.  The award for this RFP is expected between: $50,000 to $250,000. 

Eligible proposals should concentrate in one or all of the following areas (selected by the PA 504 CoC Governance Team):
1. Street Outreach
2. Homelessness Prevention
3. Coordinated Entry

To view the application, click here.