Plan to End Homelessness Receives National Planning Award

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Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2016 9:26 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the American Planning Association announced that the Homeless Solutions Community 10-Year Plan for the city of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, is the 2016 recipient of the HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award.

Jointly presented by HUD and APA, the HUD Secretary's Award recognizes a plan, program, or project that has been in effect for at least three years and improves the quality of life for low- and moderate-income community residents. Emphasis is placed on how creative housing, economic development and private investments have been used in or with a comprehensive community development plan to empower a community.

Differing from other approaches, the Homeless Solutions 10-Year Plan changed the approach from 'managing' to ending chronic homelessness. The plan is a result of two years of work and the involvement of approximately 200 people representing consumers, providers, neighborhood groups, government jurisdictions, philanthropy, business, nonprofits, education, housing and the faith community.

The plan is data-driven and based on best practice models providing a creative, coordinated and collaborative approach to tackling the moral and economic challenges of homelessness. Four key principles are identified within the plan: poverty reduction, housing, prevention and multi-system response. The plan has changed the shape of the homeless assistance system in Dayton and Montgomery County.

"Congratulations to the city of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, for developing a plan to effectively end chronic homelessness," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "The team's focus on homelessness is exemplary, and their innovation and commitment will help transform people's lives for the better."

"Since the plan was adopted, chronic homelessness in Montgomery County has been reduced more than 50 percent with almost 600 new permanent supportive housing units created for young adults, single adults and families," said Kathy Werkmeister, president of the Ohio Conference of Community Development. "Additionally, the community created a coordinated effort by all area agencies serving the homeless while eliminating duplicate services and making core services more efficient and effective."

Prior to adoption of the plan, the homeless 'system' was more of a collection of dedicated providers who individually stepped up to fill the need. Now there is a cohesive, coordinated homeless system implementing a set of agreed upon community strategies. The Homeless Solutions 10-Year Plan has changed the shape of the homeless assistance system in Dayton and Montgomery County. The community has already witnessed a dramatic decrease in the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness, 79 percent since 2005.

The plan has been formally adopted by the city of Dayton, Montgomery County and the United Way of the Greater Dayton area. The plan has also been used as a model to shape other community initiatives on substance abuse, ex-offender reentry and poverty reduction.

"Dayton and Montgomery County have created a national framework for communities looking to solve homelessness once and for all," said W. Shedrick Coleman, APA 2016 Awards Jury chair. "By working together, the community proves that we can create communities of lasting value."

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

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