Homelessness, in Greenville, South Carolina as in many places, is an ongoing and complex issue. Housing insecurity and homelessness can result from economic issues like unemployment, lack of affordable housing, or insufficient income from low-wage jobs, among other things; in many cases, mental health problems or substance abuse play a role, especially with the chronically homeless. These and other influences – many of which act as both cause and effect – mean that homelessness and housing concerns in Greenville are braided together. Our commitment to safe, affordable homes for everyone means that housing policy must be developed in the context of long-range workforce development and transportation planning as Greenville experiences continued growth across all income levels. Our focus on households earning $15,000 or less annually has an imperative of connecting meaningful economic development to land use planning that co-locates jobs and housing opportunities for the region’s long term prosperity. Developing local resources that have the potential to marry affordable housing needs with highly specialized demands of local market conditions is our goal as a coalition to ensure that homelessness is brief and rare. Our definition of homelessness is more inclusive than the federal definition because we believe everyone counts in Greenville County. Resources to address homelessness will be leveraged to include federal, state and local dollars.
The HUD definition includes four broad categories of homelessness: People who are living in a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided. The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is an internet-based client data management system that helps coordinate shelter and services for people who are experiencing homelessness or struggling with a housing crisis.
United Housing Connections (UHC) coordinates efforts throughout 13 counties in the Upstate and is the leading provider of services, as well as the collaborative applicant for HUD funding. UHC is also the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) administrator for the region.
HUD definition of homelessness doesn't include families or individuals who have doubled up with friends or family. Further, families or individuals who live in motels, vehicles, or other hidden locations often do not interact with the service agencies or volunteers conducting counts. It is also important to note that this definition has changed over time becoming less inclusive and causing local providers to determine if someone is “homeless enough” to receive assistance.
a local evidence based model addresses chronic homelessness at reedy place // by Mike Giordano
Community Data Initiative
GHA’s definition of homelessness includes a family or individual lacking a fixed, regular or adequate nighttime residence. GHA is participating in the Community Data initiative facilitated by GVL NSEM. This team identified local integrated community data as one of the core resources needed to connect youth educational outcomes in Greenville to longer-term workforce opportunities. It was determined that the GHA Data Snapshot 2017 report, generated by Furman University, could serve as a potential early win for this initiative.
Partners engaged in the GHA aim to maximize community assets and pool resources.