Housing stability is the foundation of our health and wellbeing. Without housing, our ability to obtain an education or job, and even meet our basic needs to live a healthy lifestyle, is not only in danger but nearly impossible.
The factors affecting housing security and homelessness, both locally and across the country, are extremely complex. The focus of United Way of the Mohawk Valley and our community partners is to:
- assist homeless individuals and families to obtain housing,
- connect individuals and families with necessary resources such as food, clothing, mental health and/or substance abuse services, and additional outlets to education and employment skills, and more,
- decrease the number of individuals and families in danger of becoming homeless,
- and understand the root causes and prevent homelessness
Funding and Partnerships
Through federal, state, and local grants, United Way of the Mohawk Valley receives thousands of dollars assisting those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.
United Way MV and our Housing Team follows the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) and Homelessness Assistance Programs rules and regulations. The programs include the Continuum of Care (CoC) and the Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG). In addition, HUD has increased housing and homeless funding and efforts, due to COVID-19 through August 2022.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD is the federal body that supports a variety of interrelated policy areas that fundamental to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. The policy areas include affordable housing development and preservation, community and economic development, environment and energy, fair housing, health, and housing, ending homelessness, homeownership, rental assistance, and supportive housing and services.
- Strengthen the nation's housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers
- Meet the need for quality, affordable rental homes
- Utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life
- Build inclusive strong, resilient, and inclusive communities
HUD's Continuum of Care Program (CoC)
Throughout the US the Continuum of Care 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.
Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Coalition (MVHHC)
Locally, our CoC (NY-518 HUD), or otherwise known as Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Coalition (MVHHC), began in 2002, serving Oneida and Madison County. In 2014, United Way MV became the collaborative applicant for this program.
Since then, United Way MV has continued to grow in its role in our community's housing and homelessness efforts. Our Housing Team consists of staff whose focus is on ensuring individuals identified as homeless are linked with the proper agencies and services based on their specific needs, plus a committee and board that meet bi-monthly.
Our local coalition consists of multiple agencies, government departments, staff from both Social Science Associates and United Way MV, as well as a Board of Directors. Both MVHHC and the Board of Directors meet six times a year to collaborate and work to end homelessness in our community.
Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)
Each CoC is responsible for selecting a software solution that complies with HUD’s data collection, management, and reporting standards, or HMIS. This local information technology system is used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. The SNAPS Data Strategy provides a multi-year vision, as well as specific goals and objectives for HMIS.
In 2019, United Way MV began its role in leading the local HMIS database efforts.
Data and Prevention
Data is the most valuable resource in helping us understand what causes homelessness and how we can work to prevent it. This data drives decisions for housing developments, programs and services, and funding.
In one year, from September 2019 through October 2020, locally:
- 565 individuals were served and placed in Emergency Shelter and then Transitional Housing
- 192 individuals were eligible and placed into Rapid Re-Housing
- 506 individuals were eligible and placed into Permanent Supportive Housing
What is the data telling us?
This data plays an important role in identifying information that determines funding levels, services, and solutions for homelessness.
Without basic needs being met, like housing, an individual’s general health, mental health, job stability, and financial stability will all struggle as well, creating a ripple effect on many other issues.
There are many reasons why individuals and families face homelessness. The two root causes we see most often in the Mohawk Valley are struggles with mental health and lack of affordable housing. Our next step is working with community leaders and our local CoC to find innovative solutions to address these overarching issues facing the Mohawk Valley.
How can you help?
A donation to United Way of the Mohawk Valley is the most effective and efficient way to allow us to continue to identify and address the needs of our community, including housing and homelessness.