The purpose of this white paper study is to explore how Iredell County, North Carolina could effectively and efficiently implement housing first initiatives and programs for the persistently homeless using guidance from other counties that have successfully done so. The crisis of homelessness is growing at an alarming rate and current policy measures put in place to mitigate this issue are proving not to be as beneficial to the county of Iredell and the state of North Carolina as they could be. Iredell County North Carolina has not enacted Title V of the McKinney-Vento act which would allow for government properties to be used to house the homeless, and this study seeks to understand how this can be made possible in the county if it has already been implemented in other counties. There are several areas that this study will focus on to find that housing first initiatives are proven to be effective in placing homeless individuals and families in permanent housing and allowing them to become assets to society. These areas include the impact of homelessness on school aged children in Iredell County, policy, practices, and funding focused on this crisis in Iredell County, and how housing first initiative programs have been successfully implemented in other state’s counties as a model for Iredell County to follow. Findings from the research and interviews conducted for this white paper study found that individuals and families with children in Iredell County who face persistent homelessness would benefit greatly from housing first initiative programs. School aged children need the security of a home to have successful academic achievement, and housing families and individuals could alleviate the burden homelessness has on their cognitive development. Findings show that State Representatives in Iredell County are aware of the problem of homelessness and have knowledge of policy and funding focused on mitigating the crisis. State Representatives do not have knowledge regarding Title V programs or Housing First initiatives. Findings show that the Milwaukie County Housing First Program and the Vermont Pathways Housing First program were implemented and became a successful example for other counties to use as a basis of consideration and implementation. As the homelessness crisis is not one that can be remedied overnight, policy alternatives have been recommended for Iredell County using evaluative criteria to show that outcomes have the possibility to be successful if the strategic planning and implementation processes are carefully considered. It can be concluded that the crisis of persistent homelessness is an area where more research is needed to solve the problem and gain lasting solutions. Housing first initiative programs are a step in the right direction for this population in Iredell County who could benefit greatly from these programs that have proven to be a path forward toward permanent housing.
Bobish, Laketha, "Implementing Housing First Initiatives and Programs for the Persistently Homeless Individuals and Families in Iredell County, North Carolina" (2021). Master in Public Administration Theses. 30.