On November 6th, 20 partner agencies of The Way Home came together to speed up the move in process for 100 people experiencing homelessness. Led by the Coalition for the Homeless and hosted by the Beacon, this navigation event brought together healthcare providers, law enforcement, local housing authorities, nonprofits, and local workforce to ensure that those experiencing homelessness could gather the necessary documentation to move into permanent housing. This process typically takes a month, but the navigation event reduced this time drastically – 17 people were even approved for housing on the spot that same day!
With 100 attendees, all agencies came together and worked as a unit to effectively and efficiently propel these individuals experiencing homelessness through this navigation process! Housing navigators and outreach team members attended and served as the first point of contact at the event, determining what documentation people needed to get that day. Then, representatives from The Harris Center and Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston used cross-referenced lists to write up disability forms throughout the entire event! These forms are also crucial to the navigation process as they are required for entry into Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) programs.
The Houston Police Department & Harris County Sheriff Homeless Outreach Teams (HOT) were absolutely amazing as they had pre-printed HOT ID’s ready to go for this event! This expedited the process for so many individuals, as not having proper identification documents can hold up the process greatly, and even prevent individuals from getting housed. The HOT teams and others also helped provide outreach and transportation to ensure that as many people could attend the event as possible.
Coalition staff helped people fill out their forms for the Social Security Administration and Workforce Solutions was on site to provide income verification where available. Of course, our PSH providers who attended were critical that day: Avenue 360, Career & Recovery, Harmony House, Harris County Community Services, and SEARCH Homeless Services conducted housing intakes, enrolling clients into programs and services, helping them apply for apartments, and more! We were fortunate to have a private landlord present that day to process housing applications. The Redford complex alone approved 17 individuals on the spot!
More than 60 people who attended this event have moved into housing since! Navigation events like these that are coordinated by the Coalition are time and labor intensive, but are critical to the continued success of The Way Home system and allow our community to be an innovative leader in making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring!