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Expediting Housing Access in Charlotte-Mecklenburg
While Socialserve works to connect people to housing throughout the country, our HousingCLT program enables us to directly serve our hometown of Charlotte, NC. HousingCLT was born to meet a distinct housing need identified by a variety of thought leaders in Charlotte, including the Leading on Opportunity Task Force: a local landlord consortium that could expand access to housing for people experiencing homelessness. The program removes barriers that keep an underserved population from finding adequate housing, and its success has created stability for many Charlotte residents.
A problem recognized. A solution delivered.
In 2014, a study conducted by Harvard economist Raj Chetty identified Charlotte as the last among the 50 largest US cities in terms of upward mobility. It was found that a contributing factor to this problem was housing providers' reluctance to participate in tenant assistance programs. In 2015, HUD awarded Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Continuum of Care a grant to create HousingCLT, which would bring housing and service providers together to expand access to Charlotte's affordable housing for people who are homeless. Property providers now have someone to help them understand and navigate often-complex housing subsidy programs, service providers have a partner in connecting people to permanent housing, and tenants have the help they need to secure a roof over their heads.
How does it work?
A single point of contact to simplify housing access and tenant retention.
HousingCLT streamlines the process of finding housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by providing a single point of contact for housing providers, service agencies and tenants, all the way from the application process through the length of tenancy. By recruiting - and retaining - housing providers who are open to engaging with programs that receive our ongoing support, HousingCLT enables homeless service agencies to focus on delivering stabilizing services to the households they refer. The property provider relationships cultivated by HousingCLT eliminate wasted time and application fees incurred by homeless households in their search for safe, stable and affordable housing.
Benefits for Property Providers
Removing the risk for property providers.
There are a lot of property owners in Charlotte who have a personal and moral interest in helping house people who simply need a second chance. At the same time, it is important to recognize that they're running a business, and navigating relationships with dozens of subsidy programs and services providers can feel daunting. Property owners need to be assured that their business will function smoothly, including rent being paid and vacancies being filled, and they need disruptions kept to a minimum.
That's where HousingCLT steps in. We remove the learning curve necessary to work with different service providers by delivering an ongoing single point of contact. Housing providers who partner with HousingCLT are given viable applicants that HousingCLT assists through application, inspection and moving. HousingCLT maintains regular contact with property providers to help address any issues that threaten tenancies - including rental payment delays. We also manage several incentive and risk mitigation funds that support and reward participating property providers. To date, HousingCLT has recruited and retained over 30 property providers as our partners. Recently, we have been fortunate to receive and use COVID-19 relief funds to expand our recruitment efforts by creating added incentives for housing providers and greater assistance for applicants and residents.
Benefits for Service Providers
Connecting service providers with willing property owners.
Locating property providers in Charlotte willing to work with people who may have less-than-ideal credit scores, criminal backgrounds or imperfect rental histories can be a challenging task, which is what makes HousingCLT so beneficial to service providers. We continuously create and nurture relationships with property providers, helping service providers locate stable housing for their clients with greater efficiency. And with this burden lifted from homeless services organizations, their staffs can focus on delivering the services and opportunities their clients need to thrive, such as financial counseling and workforce development. HousingCLT currently works with more than a dozen different agencies in the Charlotte area.
Benefits for Tenants
We don't just help people become tenants. We help them remain tenants.
Locating and being approved for safe, secure housing can be exceedingly difficult for people dealing with barriers such as bad credit, a criminal record or poor rental history, and submitting housing applications is time-consuming and costly. Even if a person has a guaranteed subsidy, finding a property provider willing to work with them isn't easy. These prospective tenants gain a valuable resource when their service provider refers them to HousingCLT. We have longstanding relationships with a number of property providers who will take the time to hear the potential tenant's story. Together, we'll work to understand how a person came to have their barriers to housing, and what measures are being taken to prevent those barriers from recurring.
HousingCLT is a referral-based organization, and we only accept referrals from our service provider partners. We are not a service provider ourselves - instead, we rely on our partners to maintain their availability to assist HousingCLT residents, should those residents experience issues or difficulties that threaten their tenancy.
Are you in need of safe, affordable housing? Socialserve is available to you at 877-428-8844 - just ask for assistance in searching for housing, or use our online housing search tool.
If you are at risk of losing your housing due to financial hardship, reach out to Crisis Assistance Ministry. If you are homeless, contact 2-1-1 and go through the Coordinated Entry process to engage with one of our services partners.
HousingCLT: Improving the housing process for all parties involved.
Whether you are a property provider, a service provider or a tenant, HousingCLT delivers housing success stories. As a single point of contact for all parties involved, we are able to simplify the process of housing people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Eighty-nine percent of households assisted by HousingCLT have retained their housing, thanks to our proactive approach to addressing issues that threaten their tenancy. If you're a housing or services provider in Charlotte and are interested in partnering with us, simply email us at housingclt@socialserve.com.
HousingCLT is funded by HousingCLT
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