Coalition Receives Grant from Wells Fargo & Company to Continue the Collaborative Response to Homelessness

Oct 22, 2013  |  at 3:14 pm  |  by sbrown

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Richard Torres (Wells Fargo), Glory Perez (Wells Fargo), Marilyn Brown (Coalition for the Homeless), Alan Watkins (Wells Fargo), Spiro Petritsis (Wells Fargo), Dianna Grey (CSH), Mandy Chapman Semple (City of Houston – Mayor’s Office), and Helen Bow (Wells Fargo)

Wells Fargo & Company, one of America’s leading community banks and the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, announced on October 16 that it will make a donation of $310,000 over three years to the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris county to create and implement programs necessary to create a system that rapidly returns homeless persons to housing stability.

The Coalition for the Homeless has earmarked this funding for:

  • Coordinating local participation in the national 100,000 Homes Campaign
  • Fully implementing a Coordinated Access System to effectively identify, assess, and prioritize target tenants
  • Right-sizing the homeless system by overseeing a process to convert or redirect appropriate existing programs (such as transitional housing) to more effective interventions such as permanent supportive housing or rapid re-housing.

The Coalition has already successfully coordinated participation in the 100,000 Homes Campaign through a registry week, held May 5 – 10, where volunteer groups comprised of local homeless service organization staff, local government staff, and community members interviewed homeless individuals in the downtown Houston area to create a centralized registry of our most vulnerable community members.  This registry is being used to create a priority list for housing, and will feed into the new Coordinated Access System.

“We are thrilled by this generous gift from Wells Fargo & Company, and their belief in the collaboration and progress being made in Houston,” said Marilyn Brown, President/CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless.  “Even in the last few months, we have seen incredible strides being made towards our goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2016, and this grant will allow us to continue to be a leader in Houston’s thoughtful, collective response to homelessness.”

The other two focuses for this grant, Coordinated Access and “right-sizing the system,” are projects that are well underway. The Coordinated Access System was piloted at the DeGeorge at Union Station Day Shelter, a staffing plan has been created, and our Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) has been upgraded so that the Coordinated Access System is completely automated.  The HMIS upgrade is truly remarkable, because it allows a Coordinated Access staff member to enter information about a homeless individual into the database, which will then return results with only the specific housing that the individual qualifies for and has available beds.  This HMIS upgrade also allows a reservation to be booked which is then pushed automatically to the provider.

In regards to “right-sizing the system,” an initial analysis has already been completed on 17 existing Transitional Housing Programs.  It was found that eight of these programs were best positioned to convert to rapid re-housing, and three were to Permanent Supportive Housing.  Additional analysis is needed for the remaining 7 programs, and we have requested additional assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to continue this retooling process.

Wells Fargo & Company also awarded a grant to the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) for $450,000 over three years in support of their efforts for the Houston homeless community.  These grants are funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation through the company’s NeighborhoodLIFTSM program announced last year, in an innovative effort created to help stabilize neighborhoods and help people buy homes by making properties more affordable with down payment assistance available for eligible prospective buyers. For more information on the NeighborhoodLIFTSM program, click here.