BLUEPRINT TO END HOMELESSNESSIN GREENVILLE COUNTY, SCA Ten Year PlanOctober 2005VISIONIn Greenville County, South Carolina, every person will have a place to callhome that is safe, affordable, and accessible.PLANNING PROCESSThis plan is the product of the Planning Committee to End Homelessness, which is spearheaded bymembers of the Greenville Chapter of the Upstate Homeless Coalition. (Committee members are listed in theAppendix.) The Committee has met at least every two weeks since September 2, 2004. The Committeedeveloped the plan based from member experience and knowledge of homelessness in Greenville County. Italso referred to Strategies for Reducing Chronic Street Homelessness (2004) by Housing and UrbanDevelopment (HUD).The Committee operated under the principle that while homeless serviceproviders have good ideas on how to end homelessness, it is not a task they alonecan achieve.MISSIONOur mission is to create a broad base of support for ending homelessness inGreenville County, South Carolina.The Planning Committee believes we need to partner with and support ongoing efforts to improve Greenvillesuch as United Way’s Community Impact System, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2025process, City and County efforts, and others.1

This plan needs to be constantly evaluated and updated as new methods, more housing, and resourcesbecome available. In addition, the general public needs to be continually educated on homelessness with thehope that qualified, competent leaders emerge. And finally, it is vital that this plan and its implementationadhere to the key elements of success (as identified by HUD) needed to end homelessness that have beenpracticed in other communities.KEY ELEMENTS OF SUCCESS (AS DESCRIBED BY HUD)HUD research indicates there are eleven (11) key elements needed to significantly reduce homelessness in acommunity. They are:Essential Elements: A paradigm shift – A change in thinking, resulting in a belief that homelessness is not a given andthe adoption of an explicit goal to end homelessness; recognizing that the existing network of servicesis not significantly reducing homelessness; and developing an integrated community-wide approachwith substantial participation from mainstream agencies. A clear goal of ending homelessness; Community-wide level of organization; Strong leadership and an effective organizational structure; and Significant resources from mainstream public agencies.Catalyst Element: Trigger-event and capacity to capitalize on triggering events – In Greenville County, all of theshelters are full; HUD is pushing communities to adopt and implement a plan to end homelessness inten years, which may influence future funding.Contributing Elements: Significant resources from the private sector; Commitment and support from elected officials; Outcome evaluation mechanisms for program support and improvement; Openness to new service approaches; and Strategies to minimize negative neighborhood reactions to projects .2

INTRODUCTIONAnswering the Call -- The goal of ending homelessness has achieved national prominence. It was firstarticulated in July 2000 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The Department of Housing andUrban Development (HUD) accepted this goal in 2001, and then President Bush made “ending chronichomelessness in the next decade a top objective” in his FY 2003 Budget. In addition, the U.S. Conference ofMayors has adopted this goal as well as more than 100 cities and some states have committed themselves todeveloping a plan to end homelessness in ten years.Locally, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2025 for Greenville County states that by the year2025 “Everyone has a home; Everyone has a viable income; Everyone can get where he/she needs to go; andEveryone knows how to access services.” In addition, United Way’s Community Impact System is focusingtheir resources to helping citizens who are homeless, or who need affordable housing, adequate health care,high-quality child care and youth services, and adequate transportation. Greenville City and GreenvilleCounty are also providing support for services that work with the homeless. With this plan, residents ofGreenville City and County are answering the call to help some of our most vulnerable citizens.Issue of Homelessness is Complex -- Homelessness is a complex problem that is rooted in the persistentpoverty and deep disparities in economic development and access to opportunity in South Carolina. Endinghomelessness is complicated by the lack of a coordinated local, regional or state policy on homelessness.Since 1998, the Upstate Homeless Coalition of SC (UHCSC) has been working to manage the homelesssituation in the thirteen counties of the Upstate. In Greenville, these efforts have been led by theGreenville/Laurens Chapter of the UHCSC. The Chapter has more than thirty members who providehomeless services. Through federal, state, local, private and charitable funds, local homeless serviceproviders band together to support one another’s efforts, network existing resources, and coordinate planningand housing efforts. This plan is a start at creating a local policy on homelessness.Greenville Shelters are Full -- What began as simply a noble task (helping people who are homeless get intoa home) has become a more than daunting problem for local homeless service providers. In GreenvilleCounty, all of the homeless shelters are full – meaning that for many people who need shelter, there are nobeds. All of the men’s shelters, all of the women’s shelters, and all of the family shelters are full. Shelters forspecific populations such as those with HIV/AIDS, a substance abuse problem, the mentally ill, or abusedwomen and families are also full. In addition, Greenville County’s existing homeless service providerswhich partner with the shelters are being maxed-out.Individual and Societal Hurdles -- People who are homeless face both individual and societal issues thatmake it difficult for them to move into a home. At the most basic individual level is the need for food,clothing, and shelter in order to stay alive. Once some stability has been accomplished, then begins theprocess of helping people who are homeless deal with a substance abuse problem, a mental illness that is notbeing treated, poor health, a legal problem, and/or lack of education or income. Besides assisting with theseindividual issues, people who are homeless live in communities where there is a lack of affordable housing,not enough living-wage jobs, inadequate public transportation, not enough affordable child-care slots, andsometimes frustrating coordination of services among agencies (both nonprofit and governmental). To makematters worse, some mainstream public agency resources on the federal level are experiencing seriouscutbacks (e.g., Public Housing Authorities, Community Development Block Grants, Medicaid) and resourcesfor the homeless from the local or state level are minimal. Both the individual and societal hurdles that mustbe jumped by people who are homeless are quite significant, thus making the problem of homelessness almostunmanageable. Homelessness in our nation and our community is an American tragedy that we musteliminate. We need the support of our entire community if we are to eliminate homelessness in GreenvilleCounty over the next 10 years.3

To reiterate our Vision and Mission:VISIONIn Greenville County, South Carolina, every person will have a place to callhome that is safe, affordable, and accessible.MISSIONOur mission is to create a broad base of support for ending homelessness inGreenville County, South Carolina.To accomplish this Vision and Mission, the Planning Committee to End Homelessness offersthe following goals, strategies, and activities.GOALSThe Planning Committee’s goals to end homelessness in Greenville County in tenyears are summarized as follows:1. Prevention2. Services3. Affordable Housing4. Data Gathering and Reporting – Documenting Progress5. Funding and Resources6. Planning Committee Effectiveness and Accountability4

PREVENTIONESTABLISH A SEAMLESS, INTEGRATED SYSTEM THAT EFFECTIVELY LINKS INDIVIDUALSAND FAMILIES WITH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROGRAMS DESIGNED TO PREVENTHOMELESSNESS.TRUE STORY -- Joe M. was an inmate at a local jail. He had been arrested for nonpayment of child support.Because of his arrest and incarceration, he had been terminated from his job and was evicted from hisapartment. While in jail, a nonprofit organization that specializes in assisting former inmates worked veryclosely with Joe to plan for his life after incarceration. Joe was sentenced to probation and referred to asupervised transitional housing program. He received assistance in securing a job that matched his skills.Over a twelve-month period, he was able to work and save enough money for a security deposit and the firstmonth’s rent for his own apartment. Joe is still employed, living independently, and is now current on hischild support payments.Strategies and Activities:1. Develop and adopt standards for discharge or release of institutionalized individuals (e.g., personsdischarged from psychiatric institutions, treatment facilities, hospitals, correctional facilities, and foster care)to avoid direct discharge or release to the streets or homeless shelters that are unable to meet the supportiveservice needs of the discharged or released individuals. Assess the number and needs of persons in hospitals,treatment facilities, psychiatric institutions, correctional facilities, and foster care who are being discharged tothe streets or to homeless shelters to determine the scope of the issue in our community.a. Research successful discharge/release policies and secure technical assistance from national and stateintermediaries to provide on-site training to develop an effective discharge planning process betweeninstitutions and homeless service providers.b. Assess the need for new resources or reallocate existing resources to implement discharge policies.2. Identify sources of funding and services to enhance prevention of homelessness (e.g., emergencyrent/mortgage payments, security/utility deposits to prevent eviction of renters or foreclosure of homeowners,case management services, creation of Individual Development Accounts [IDA], faith-based groups). (Alsosee paragraph 7) Develop plan for approaching potential areas of funding and appealing to them in a way thatencourages their participation.a. Develop plans for approaching potential sources of funding and appealing to them in a way thatencourages their participation.b. Create a system of comprehensive case management for formerly homeless people who are newlyhoused to assist them in staying housed and to help them with areas other than housing or refer themto other resources.c. Create and fund a system for landlords to identify tenants at risk of losing their housing. Withlandlord intervention, at-risk tenants are quickly linked to appropriate services to help the tenantsmaintain their housing, if possible. (This will be a great opportunity for faith-based groups to dooutreach for people in crisis.)3. Initiate and participate in a state-wide discussion to amend the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act toestablish an escrow account for repairs when landlords do not maintain their properties. An escrow accountfor repairs can possibly prevent housing stock from deteriorating which could leave a family homeless due tolocal building code enforcement procedures. Partner with the Board of Realtors, Apartment Association, SCCenter for Equal Justice, City, County and others.4. Work with the Greenville Transit Authority to incorporate additional routes and times for the bus servicein the greater Greenville area which would assist those who need to get to work. This will also assist those5

who may lose one job and need to find other work. By adding additional schedules to the already existing busservice it will assist in preventing additional homelessness. Work with industry in outlying areas (e.g.Donaldson, etc.) to provide funding assistance.5. Coordinate with the Board of Education to bring education to the classroom in the area of “life skills”training which would assist those in learning more about the warning signs of certain issues which may bringabout homelessness. Some of this training may include drug and alcohol abuse information, mental health,basic coping and life skills, etc. Teach importance of preparation, planning, and forethought by remindingpeople that their actions have consequences. Work with the Board of Education to publicize the importanceof completing high school to help prevent unemployment and homelessness.6. Partner with SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department, SC Employment Security Commission, andDepartment of Commerce to address the training/retraining needs of displaced workers to preventhomelessness. Involve local offices of these departments.7. Develop a comprehensive listing of resources which are available in the Greenville County area in regardsto services to those who are homeless or may become homeless. This list should include information forrental assistance, mental health and substance abuse services, etc. This list should be disseminated to localsocial service agencies and also to the faith based community to be used as a referral source.8. Participate in the local development and coordination of the “211” helpline system with United Way andother local agencies.9. Share with the churches of Greenville how they can help not only in prayer, volunteering and support forhomelessness but also the importance of nurturing loving, caring, stable families, a reduction in teenpregnancy and in spousal abuse in their congregations and neighborhoods.6

SERVICESENSURE THAT ALL RESIDENTS OF GREENVILLE COUNTY WHO ARE HOMELESS HAVEACCESS TO THE SUPPORTIVE SERVICES NEEDED TO ACHIEVE SELF-SUFFICIENCY.TRUE STORY -- Wanda C. was living on the streets and suffering from a mental illness. The local mentalhealth center homeless outreach worker worked with her and now she is housed, receives daily casemanagement and takes her medicines regularly. She is a person of considerable influence with the othertenants in her apartment complex and was instrumental in getting the residents to begin a vegetable gardenlast summer. She has a small SSI income.Strategies and Activities:1. Develop a process whereby homeless service providers and mainstream agencies work togetherto better serve people who are homeless.a.Increase collaboration among public and private service agencies to expandmainstream and specialized services targeting homeless individuals and families,including behavioral, primary medical care and dental health care, employment,transportation and child care services (e.g., partnerships between state agencies andUnited Way). Recommendation: Consult with Center for Developmental Studies forguidance with this.b.Partner with the State Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify new streamlinedapproaches to increasing access to Medicaid by homeless individuals and families(e.g., presumed eligibility, coordinated eligibility qualification procedures with SocialSecurity Administration, Veterans Affairs, SC Department of Social Services,Employment Security Commission, Vocational Rehabilitation).c.Provide expertise with surrounding counties to construct short-termemergency/transitional supportive housing developments and other services forpeople who are homeless.1.Have local homeless service providers and supportive agencies/organizationsbe available to share expertise to help Upstate counties create services to helppeople who are homeless. (This will lessen the demand on Greenville’sagencies/services and homeless service providers.)2. Continue to strengthen and evaluate existing homeless service providers so they are helping toend homelessness in Greenville County.a.Identify obstacles that prevent homeless individuals and families from accessingmainstream services and identify strategies to address obstacles that can beimplemented through partnerships. [Some mainstream services are Medicaid,Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, Women, Infantsand Children (WIC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Children’s HealthInsurance Program (CHIP), ABC child care vouchers, Workforce Investment Act(WIA), Veterans health care and benefits, mental health services, and public housingauthority housing services.]7

b.Expand access to federal and state mainstream support services by personsexperiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.3. Increase the number of “street” homeless outreach workers (e.g., targeting persons with seriousmental illnesses, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, or runaway youth).a.Determine the number of new outreach workers for people who are homeless that areneeded and identify resources to fund these outreach workers. Create outreach teamsconsisting of specialists from mental health, substance abuse treatment, general healthcare and law enforcement.4. Develop housing strategiesa.Create thorough process to implement Housing First approach. It should include:1.Crisis intervention, emergency services/shelter/transitional housing, screeningand needs assessment;2.Permanent housing services; and3.Case management services.b.Investigate need for additional transitional housing in Greenville County. (Refer toUnited Way’s 2005 survey on transitional housing for information.)c.Investigate all types of permanent supportive housing (PSH) that best fitsGreenville’s needs. One example is low demand housing (e.g., safe haven) for “streethomeless” who are disabled and can pay rent.1.Partner with local primary care, mental health, and substance abuse treatmentproviders to maximize funding from HUD Continuum of Care and U.S.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Care for theHomeless programs for the development of safe havens and related supportiveservices.2.Create sufficient resources and partnerships among agencies/services to offerappropriate support for people in Permanent Supportive Housing. Supportservices can include case management, service referrals, substance abusetreatment, mental health treatment, health care, income support, etc.5. Sheltersa.b.c.Create shelters for unique homeless populations that are currently being underserved(e.g., families, those with a mental illness, and people with a majormedical/behavioral/health condition). This provides stabilization for individuals andfamilies before moving into permanent supportive housing or permanent housing.Create funding streams to support additional case managers and other services atshelters.Encourage mainstream agencies and homeless service providers to co-locate atshelters to help move people who are homeless into housing. Create funding sourcesto help make this so.6. Investigate opportunities for residents of Greenville County so: More living-wage jobs are created, More affordable child care slots are available, An expanded public transportation system exists (e.g., so County residents can access theCity; 2nd-shift and 3rd-shift workers can get back and forth to work).8

Further Recommendations: Provide assistance to applicants who fill out forms to apply for assistance like Medicaid, foodstamps, etc. Increase agencies’ awareness that applications are online for Medicaid and foodstamps and can be filled out in advance of visit by an applicant’s case manager.Agencies find out ways to coordinate clients’ food stamps to be used to purchase food andstretch food dollars for the group.Advocate for people to buy into Medicaid system so they can get off of disability byworking, while still maintaining health benefits.Create a list of agencies in table format that shows programs and services for quick reference.(Refer to HUD’s Strategies for Reducing Chronic Street Homelessness in the Appendix.)9

AFFORDABLE HOUSINGESTABLISH A STRONG, SUSTAINABLE CONTINUUM OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPTIONSTO ENSURE ALL GREENVILLE COUNTY RESIDENTS, INCLUDING THOSE THAT AREHOMELESS, HAVE ACCESS TO QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEAR SERVICES ANDAMENITIES.TRUE STORY -- Catherine F. became homeless after a divorce that left her without housing, income orprospects for the future. After entering a transitional housing program, she obtained a nursing degree from alocal technical college. Upon graduating, she became employed with a local hospital and is now in her ownhome.“Affordable Housing” is most often referred to as housing that costs no more than 30% of ahousehold’s income.Strategies and Activities:1. Create a local housing trust fund as the principle vehicle to accomplish the establishment of more safe,decent affordable housing in Greenville County.2. Collaborate with existing entities to create more affordable housing.a. Partner with and support the efforts of Greenville City Community Development, Greenville CountyRedevelopment Authority, United Way’s Community Impact Council “Strengthening Families andNeighborhoods,” Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2025 process, United Ministries’Housing Task Force, the Upstate Homeless Coalition of SC’s Continuum of Care process, and others.3. Develop sufficient permanent affordable housing units for the following at-risk populations: People who are homeless; Individuals and families with incomes at or below 30% of the Area Median Income or AMI(extremely low-income residents at 16,470/year for family of four); Cost-burdened renters, which are people spending more than 30% of household income on housingcosts (In Greenville County [2003 Census], 52% of renters paid more than 30% of their income forhousing.); Individuals and families currently on waiting lists for public or assisted housing (The HousingAuthority of the City of Greenville has 2,653 active applications for public housing and 1,312applications for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.);and Persons with disabilities and other special needs (approximately 20% of the at-risk population isdisabled).a. Create innovative zoning and density regulations with the City and County that allow forprofit housing developers to build scattered-site affordable housing units.b. Create rulings from the City and County which state there be an equal number of affordablehousing units available for the number of extremely low-income (30% of AMI) and very lowincome (50% AMI) households in the City and County.c. Create City or County rulings for new developments of housing so 5-10% of units are setaside for extremely low-income and very low-income residents. Create incentives for this tohappen.d. Identify and develop new resources to increase production of affordable housing unitstargeted to homeless populations (e.g., State Low Income Tax Credit Program).10

e. Grow partnerships with the Housing Authority of the City of Greenville and HousingAuthority of Greer and their HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rent subsidies (tenantbased and project-based) program for permanent supportive housing for homeless persons.f. Encourage the Continuum of Care to apply for HUD Shelter Plus Care and SupportiveHousing Program funds that will provide rental assistance to supportive housingdevelopments for disabled homeless individuals and their families.g. Encourage federal lawmakers to increase funding for Section 811 and Section 202 housing.(These programs help persons with disabilities and the elderly obtain affordable housing.)h. Examine current uses of federal block grants, competitive grants and housing funding sourcesat the state and local levels (e.g., State Housing Trust Fund, Local and State HOMEPrograms, Local and State Community Development Block Grant Programs, Local and StateEmergency Shelter Grant Programs, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS/HIV).Develop strategies to target a portion of these funds for homeless services and housing.i. Support Upstate Homeless Coalition of SC (UHCSC) to secure all available HUD Continuumof Care funds by expanding the technical assistance and staff capacity needed to continuequality applications for funding (UHCSC Continuum of Care consistently brings about 3Mannually from HUD to the Upstate for homeless programs. [Please note: Not all agencies ororganizations involved in the Continuum of Care seek federal funding.])j. Develop strategies for targeting Community Development Block Grant (City and County)service funds to meet the needs of homeless populations.k. Streamline application processes for housing developments targeting homeless populations,including the coordination of deadlines and application forms of federal and stateadministered funds.l. Create additional assisted living units for persons who cannot manage their own household.4. Obtain sufficient operating subsidies or rent supports for 100% of new housing developed to ensureaffordability for at-risk populations and sustainability of housing programs. (Typically, “operatingsubsidies” support short-term housing and “rent supports” go toward permanent housing. The very lowincomes of most of the targeted populations noted above means they will require an average of 300/month inrent subsidy.)a. Identify and develop new resources to increase rent support or operating subsidy to sustain affordablehousing developments or programs targeting homeless individuals and families.5. Investigate opportunities to create affordable housing near employers that utilize a large number of lowwage workers.11

DATA GATHERING AND REPORTING -- DOCUMENTING PROGRESSDEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE AND ONGOING HOMELESS DATA COLLECTION ANDANALYSIS SYSTEM THAT WILL PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS INGREENVILLE COUNTY AND TO EVALUATE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PROGRAMSADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS.Strategies and Activities:1. Create a system to show that we are ending homelessness. It should document: Changes in the number of people living on the streets from year to year; Changes in the number of chronically street homeless people who have moved into permanentsupportive housing or permanent housing; Changes in the costs for providing emergency health care, mental health services, substance abuseservices, shelter services, and/or detention center/police services; and Changes in the number of days that homeless people are homeless, hospitalized, or incarcerated.a. Utilize data from the January 2005 “Point In Time” Homeless Count and other sources todetermine Greenville County’s baseline homeless data.b. Enhance Greenville County’s information on homelessness by using periodic extracts fromthe Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Participating homeless serviceproviders make data available to the SC Data Warehouse of the SC Budget and ControlBoard. (This is where research can be done to show the costs of providing emergency healthcare, mental health services, shelter services, and/or detention center services for homelessindividuals.)c. Partner with the SC Budget and Control Board through their Department of Research andStatistics to issue an annual homeless data report for Greenville County.d. Develop a data report format that will be concise and effective for public policy purposes.e. Develop a model for the aggregation of all the available homeless data reports (aggregate andpoint-in-time) and develop other necessary homeless data reports using information throughthe SC Data Warehouse.2. Provide Planning Committee to End Homelessness with appropriate data analysis and reports to ensureCommittee’s effectiveness and accountability.a. Utilizing available Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), state data, and otheravailable homeless information, annually evaluate and assess the impact of this plan’s policies.3. Establish a mechanism to fund the ongoing data collection and analysis to be completed by the SC Budgetand Control Board.4. Establish a mechanism to fund the ongoing evaluation of homeless housing and services.5. Partner with concerned entities (e.g., City, County, agencies, etc.) to assess affordable housing needs andsupportive services needs for homeless individuals and families. This is to be used to establish annualaffordable housing production and supportive services goals.6. Partner with homeless providers not connected to HMIS (churches, missions, social service agencies) tomake available ways to inquire and track needy parties to relevant previous or current contacts with HMISagencies.12

7. Establish a web-based resource directory of homeless services to facilitate county/regional referrals forhousing and services.13

FUNDING AND RESOURCESINNOVATIVE LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL, AND PRIVATE FUNDING STRATEGIES WILL BEACCESSED AND USED TO END HOMELESSNESS IN GREENVILLE COUNTY IN TEN YEARS.Strategies and Activities:1. Investigate and access all types of funding streams and resources to accomplish the vision, mission, andgoals of the plan.a. These include, but are not limited to, pursuing the following: General local revenue resources (City and County); Special taxing mechanisms; Use of private sector resources (e.g., corporate, foundations, nonprofits, etc.); Faith organizations; State funding; Federal funding (continue to develop current sources); Federal funding (pursue funds other than McKinney-Vento Act money); Self support (where participants help pay some of the cost of services received); Funds blending (creative ways agencies access funds and distribute them for services).2. Develop a Funding Commission (similar to the United Way model) that specifically funds programs andservices addressing the issues of homelessness.14

PLANNING COMMITTEE EFFECTIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITYENSURE THAT THE PLANNING COMMITTEE TO END HOMELESSNESS ACHIEVES ITSMISSION THROUGH EFFECTIVENESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY.Strategies and Activities:1. Develop the role of Planning Committee.a. Examine the Planning Committee composition and identify additional stakeholders needed toimplement the plan (e.g., elected offici

Greenville Shelters are Full-- What began as simply a noble task (helping people who are homeless get into a home) has become a more than daunting problem for local homeless service providers. In Greenville County, all of the homeless shelters are full – meaning that for many peo