Housing Security 

In May 2018 concerned community stakeholders asked KConnect to bring people together to examine how the housing system is working, establish shared goals, and develop collaborative strategies to reach those goals with a focus on children, families, youth, and people of color. KConnect initiated its work in Fall 2018, KConnect began a yearlong process to convene organizations, funders, and other stakeholders within the housing and homeless system. Together we will develop a comprehensive community plan specifically calling for equitable outcomes for children and families.

 

The mission, purpose, and scope of the work follow:

 

Mission Statement: The mission is to increase access to affordable housing and decrease homelessness for families, children, and youth, with an intentional focus on eliminating racial disparities in Kent County.

 

Purpose Statement: The purpose of our work is to align and connect system-level interventions that address homelessness and increase access to housing. Strategies must be intentionally designed with the end-user in mind and targeted to people of color.

 

Scope: Recognizing the disparate overrepresentation of families of color among homeless populations, the focus of this next phase will be toward creating a community framework to reduce this disparity in our housing efforts over the next five years.

 

This work was originally anticipated to be completed in December 2019. However, in October 2019, after careful consideration and reflection, the Board of Trustees approved a request from the Housing Security Design Team for a six-month extension in order to create a more comprehensive community plan. During the final months, the teams will move into a collaborative designing phase. 

 

Creating an equitable housing system will not happen overnight. It will decades of hard work and dedication from the entire community. However, if 2019 was any indication that the Kent County communities share a passion around this issue; we are well poised to create change.

Housing Security Process:

During the first twelve months of work, the Housing Security group was split into five teams:

  • A Design Team was responsible for moving the work to completion and that served as the primary synthesizer of information that was gathered and discussed,
  • Context Experts ensured that those with lived experience with homelessness are represented in the process and plan,
  • Content Experts represented the community expertise in the housing and homeless systems,
  • Scout/Research Team researched best (and failed) practices around the country,
  • Communications Team ensured consistent communication between the teams and with the broader community.

The work was introduced for feedback in June at the Housing Accountability Partners Council. (For more information on what each group accomplished, please refer to the Housing Security Updates.)

While these teams working independent and interdependently yet, by September we heard a consistent call for readiness for less “teaming” and more collective work. In an effort to address this very positive development, the way in which we organize ourselves – our work structure – will change to a System Building Team which will help eliminate delays in communication and strengthen our overall alignment. This new approach is visualized above.

In addition to blending the expertise of the previously segmented teams, a public and private sector leadership team will be created to provide overall leadership to the Housing Security initiative and afford KConnect’s backbone team a point of contact for on-going thought leadership. The periodic broad network convening will transition from the Housing Accountability Partners Council to the Housing Responsibility Partners Council. The leadership team will also provide leadership to this convening.

Communications: 

Check back here frequently to review the communications regarding the Housing Security work, including work updates and event announcements.

Network Communication:

Introduction Email to KConnect Network – Sent January 22, 2019

Updates:

February Housing Security Update – Sent March 1, 2019

May Housing Security Update – Sent May 9, 2019

October Housing Security Update – Sent October 15, 2019

Housing Security Extension Update – Sent November 22, 2019

Homelessness Data:

Homeless Data One Pager May 2019

Full Data Breakdown

Data Explainer

Supplemental Pieces:

System Findings and Assets to Build On

Identified Root Causes

Housing Security Extension Webinar Recording

Blog Posts:

Part One of Four: The Crisis of Family Homelessness

Part Two of Four: Racial Disparities in the Homeless System

KConnect Housing Security Initiative in the News:

‘I would love to have a house that I own where my kids could play outside’ – Data shows one in seven African American children in Kent County is in homeless system (School News Network) – December 6, 2019

Study: 1 in 7 Black Children in Kent Co. Lacks Stable Home (Wood TV) – December 6, 2019