Successes, Struggles, and Opportunities: Moving Forward Through the Pandemic
COHHIO Executive Director Bill Faith and Nan Roman, CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, have both announced plans to retire later this year. In this opening plenary session, these renowned housing advocates will provide state and federal policy updates and share their insights on what the movement has accomplished, what the biggest challenges are, and how the next generation can advance the fight to end homelessness and expand affordable housing into the future. We’ll also hear Jeff Olivet, the newly appointed Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, discuss the Biden Administration’s plans to address housing insecurity.
Workshop Set A, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Emerging Crisis: Homelessness Among Aging Ohioans
Homelessness among people age 50 and up is increasing. These individuals present with a unique set of challenges that require equally unique services to meet their needs. In this session we will learn more about the forces behind this increase and practical solutions for addressing the needs of older adults experiencing homelessness.
How Recovery Housing and Adult Care Facilities Can Help End Homelessness
Finding affordable housing continues to be a challenge for people who are experiencing homelessness, and this can be exacerbated when mental health and/or substance use disorders are involved. Learn how some recovery housing and adult care facilities can provide alternative housing options for people with behavioral health issues.
Homeless Outreach and Engagement in Rural Areas
Whether you work in a rural community or are simply interested in a session that will include photos of goats and chickens, join this interactive session to learn about the unique challenges and opportunities of serving people experiencing homelessness in rural areas. The session will cover person-centered strategies from outreach and engagement to shelter and housing options in small towns and rural spaces.
Workshop Set B, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Criminal Background Checks: HUD Rules and Guidelines
In 2016, HUD issued guidance for conducting criminal background checks in housing programs in HUD programs and private housing. Learn how your program can adopt these guidelines to prevent fair housing violations. Also, hear from experts working with people with a criminal history who have learned about the necessity of compliance with the fair housing best practices developed as a result of this guidance.
Beyond the Numbers: Implementing Qualitative Analysis
Qualitative approaches to homeless system design and delivery are an emerging need in identifying, understanding, and addressing the root cause of homelessness. Systems often emphasizes quantitative measures, while minimizing people’s lived experience. Integrating a qualitative approach is a critical component of eradicating homelessness. In this session we will explore the importance of qualitative data, best practices when strategizing with a qualitative lens, and community examples that encourage participants to think about how to integrate qualitative approaches into their work. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of qualitative approaches, and how they can help create and sustain homeless systems that are person-centered and responsive to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
Housing Now For Homeless Families: Highlights from the Field
The Housing Now for Homeless Families program funds local nonprofits that provide temporary financial assistance and supportive services to rehouse families with children that are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless. Hear how COHHIO leveraged federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding to support rapid rehousing and homelessness prevention services for families in need around the state of Ohio.
Tuesday, April 12
Plenary 2, 10:00 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.
Equity, Intersectionality, and the Wisdom of People with Lived Expertise
Society imposes multiple categories on all of us – race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Working to end homelessness requires an understanding of how these complex and intersecting identities contribute to each individual’s unique experience of marginalization. In this plenary, Kaleidoscope Youth Center Executive Director Erin Upchurch, National Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Donald Whitehead, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Ann Oliva, and Tiffany Haynes, of the National Youth Forum on Homelessness discuss how they incorporate the wisdom of people with lived experience to inform more equitable approaches to ending homelessness.
Workshop Set C, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Coordinated Community-Wide Approaches to Preventing Homelessness
This session will provide an overview of Columbus/Franklin County’s new Homelessness Prevention Network (HPN), which was established to prevent and reduce homelessness. The HPN is a 3-year demonstration led by the Community Shelter Board to develop and scale standardized screening, housing problem-solving, triage, and prioritized access to prevention resources across a wide array of community partners. We’ll hear lessons learned from the first 18 months of HPN implementation, and will receive tools and resources to jump-start local homelessness prevention systems.
Unhoused and Undocumented: What Providers Need to Know
Immigration and asylum policy changes in recent years have prompted homeless services providers to ask how they can serve and protect the rights of clients who may be undocumented. Learn what the law permits and discover news ways that homelessness and housing agencies can serve this vulnerable population.
Implicit Bias: Mitigating the Impact in the Workplace
Understanding implicit bias and microaggressions are crucial components of cultural competency and key to achieving organizational equity. Attendees will gain a better understanding of these concepts, including their negative health impacts, and will learn constructive strategies for reducing implicit bias and responding to microaggressions in the workplace.
Workshop Set D, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Racism and Homelessness 101
The racial inequities in the homeless system stem from centuries of structural racism that pervades American institutions. In this session, presenters will explore how historical and modern systemic racism contributes to housing insecurity among Black Americans, and how providers can change patterns of racism and discrimination.
Coordinating with Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Boards to End Homelessness
Ohio’s county-operated behavioral health authorities, or ADAMH Boards, plan, evaluate, and fund mental health and addiction services locally. These boards contract with a wide range of providers to meet the needs of the most vulnerable individuals in their communities. In this session, hear how boards have worked to house individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Improving Ohio’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program
As part of pandemic relief legislation, the State of Ohio and its local governments received over $1 billion in federal rent relief to prevent evictions. Implementation of the Emergency Rental Assistance has faced challenges in some areas. Join this session to learn about the Ohio Department of Development’s plans for accelerating the distribution of rent relief. We’ll also highlight innovative efforts to publicize local ERA programs and quickly distribute assistance to tenants facing potential eviction.
Wednesday, April 13
Plenary 3, 10:00 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.
What America Believes About Homelessness: Barriers to Progress
Invisible People is well known for using innovative storytelling techniques to shatter stereotypes about people experiencing homelessness. In recent years, the LA-based nonprofit started using polling to better understand public perceptions of homelessness. Invisible People Founder Mark Horvath, former executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Barb Poppe, and KTown For All Co-Founder Mike Dickerson will discuss what their research reveals about the public’s evolving views on homelessness, crime, and policing. They’ll also share concrete recommendations for countering harmful messages, navigating NIMBY opposition to housing projects, using video to tell personal stories, and starting discussions on the basis of shared values.
Workshop Set E, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Staff Hiring, Retention, and Recognition
How can agencies use best practices to hire, recognize, and retain employees to mitigate the high turnover occurring in the shelter and housing systems? Attendees will hear and participate in conversations from both the theoretical and practical perspectives.
Addressing Racism in Youth Homelessness: A Systemic Approach
Since 2017, partners in Cleveland have been focused on addressing racism in youth homelessness at the homeless system and CoC leadership level. This work has evolved over time and is now carried forth by the Racial and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion Design Lab steering committee and subcommittees, which is creating tangible action plans for the community.
Federal, State, and Local Advocacy Tips From the Experts
Join this interactive session to hear about COHHIO’s efforts to advance better state and federal policies and secure adequate funding to expand affordable housing to end homelessness. Learn how you can put your advocacy skills into action at the local level for better funding and policies to empower the most vulnerable members of your community.
Workshop Set F, 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Strategies for Addressing Unsheltered Homelessness
Meeting the needs of individuals who are unsheltered takes a coordinated and intentional plan. This session will focus on how impactful street outreach is ensuring unsheltered individuals can have a place to call home. Providers will learn how to best engage the unhoused, evaluate encampments, clarify the role of the community, and more.
Reimagining System Indicators to Support Equitable and Low Barrier Responses
Participants in this workshop will engage in discussions about how to determine which performance measures and goals are most relevant to a homelessness system shifting to a more equitable and low-barrier approach. We’ll consider how to go about making changes in performance plans in order to align those goals with the community’s broader efforts to end homelessness.
Unraveling Subsidized Housing Law
Each type of HUD-subsidized housing program comes with its own rules and regulations. Landlords have greater obligations and tenants more rights under federal housing law. In this session attendees will learn about those rules and how they apply to the various types of subsidized housing, as well as how to help your clients effectively advocate to challenge denials and terminations.
Housing Ohio 2021 Materials
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The pandemic revealed health and safety vulnerabilities in our homeless system, which has long depended to a great extent on congregate shelters to serve unhoused Ohioans. Providers have been working overtime to implement new protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among Ohio’s homeless population. Join COHHIO’s Bill Faith, Richard Cho, HUD’s Senior Policy Advisor, and Ann Oliva, visiting senior fellow of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, to learn how can we emerge from this public health crisis to create a healthier homelessness response system that can respond to future crises and connect people to permanent housing solutions.
Workshop Set A
Evicted: Lessons from Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati
Matthew Desmond cast a spotlight on America’s eviction crisis, noting that evictions are not just a symptom of poverty, but a cause. Localities across the country, including several in Ohio, are taking action. Hear from presenters working in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati to stem the tide of evictions, protect tenants, and prevent homelessness.
Housing at the Center: A Foundation to Thrive
In this session we will hear how providers utilize housing programs to meet the needs of special populations in Ohio. This session highlights the Ohio 811 project which provides rental subsidies to low-income Ohioans with disabilities; Scholar House which gives young parents the stability to advance their education; and EDEN Inc.’s Returning Home Ohio program, which connects returning citizens to private rental units.
Impact of Hotels as Non-Congregate Emergency Shelters
Researchers from the University of Washington and the King County, Washington recently studied the use of non-congregate hotel settings to serve people experiencing homelessness in the Seattle area. Their findings help inform future strategic responses to homelessness and public health crises as a return to high-density shelters may not be an option due to ongoing public health concerns.
Workshop Set B
Community Action Agencies’ Role in Ending Homelessness
During the ongoing pandemic, Community Action Agencies in Ohio are playing a critical role in the administration of emergency rental assistance for people affected by job and income loss. We will hear how CAAs have targeted these resources to households most in need and how they are implementing these programs in ways that make them accessible to help at-risk Ohioans avoid eviction and homelessness
Street Outreach in the Era of Coordinated Entry
Effective Coordinated Entry systems incorporate street outreach so that people living on the land can access permanent housing resources. Unfortunately, there are often gaps in the interface between the point of engagement and the resolution of homelessness. Learn about best practices for the transition from street outreach to housing, and how data can better inform outreach and ensure integration with other services.
Affordable Housing Development Principles: What, Who & How
Affordable housing is crucial for ending homelessness and promoting housing stability for low-income Ohioans. Presenters will demystify the affordable housing development process and explain how Low-Income Housing Tax Credits work, illustrating these concepts with several local case studies.
Tuesday, April 6
Equitably Transforming Our Community Response to Homelessness
The struggles of communities to respond effectively, urgently, and equitably to the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed what we already knew but have not addressed: our homelessness response systems must be transformed and reimagined, and redesigned to achieve racial equity and justice. Marc Dones and Sam Batko will discuss the Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response Project, a collaborative call to action delivered by people who have experienced homelessness and homelessness response systems. They’ll share lessons learned from communities, what policy shifts are needed right now, and how we can transform systems to achieve housing justice.
Workshop Set C
Segregated City: The Lasting Impact of Redlining, Sundown Towns and More
Historic patterns of discriminatory lending, zoning, and restrictions on African-Americans’ freedom of movement have left a lasting impact on communities around the country. In this session we’ll explore how these practices shaped our present-day neighborhoods and American society.
Problem Solving: A Conflict Resolution Approach to Homelessness Prevention
Problem Solving is a client-centered, conflict resolution approach that helps clients identify their own strengths and resources to empower them to create their own paths out of homelessness. This session delves into the Problem Solving philosophy and provides interactive activities to build effective techniques.
Healthy Beginnings at Home: Better Birth Outcomes through Rental Assistance
Healthy Beginnings at Home, an innovative partnership between housing and healthcare providers in Columbus, is laying the groundwork to demonstrate the positive benefits of safe, stable and affordable housing on maternal and infant health. During this session, Healthy Beginnings partners will discuss their findings, and ongoing efforts to expand this pilot project beyond Columbus.
Workshop Set D
Identifying and Supporting Decompensation in Your Program
The pandemic’s negative impact on mental health is widespread, but an individual who is decompensating in your housing program can cause greater instability and jeopardize their own ability to remain safely housed. In this session, presenters will explain how to identify signs of decompensation and help these individuals maintain their housing and the safety of your program.
Beyond a Home: Building Meaningful Supports in Communities
As homeless services providers, we are capable of physically ending a person’s homelessness, but helping someone find a true home is a more complicated challenge. Hear from professionals working to help individuals find a sense of belonging with friends, neighbors, and social networks through pragmatic training in advocating for oneself, public speaking, and conflict resolution.
Fair Housing: Animals in Housing & Shelters
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against protected classes, including those with a disability. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation. Both laws allow for people with disabilities to have animals to assist them. Learn exactly how these protections apply to shelter and housing programs, and how they implemented strategies to meet the needs of the individual and the animal.
Wednesday, April 7
Tackling the Affordable Housing Crisis
The pandemic and economic recession have exposed many cracks in the foundation of our system, particularly with the growing affordable housing shortage at a time when we’re all advised to stay home. Kicking off this plenary is Sen. Sherrod Brown, the new Chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Development Committee, who will share his plans for increasing the Senate’s attention to housing and homelessness issues. Then we’ll hear National Low Income Housing Coalition President & CEO Diane Yentel and Zillow economist Alexandra Lee explore emerging trends in the decades-old affordable housing shortage problem and share ideas for how the Biden administration can adopt new federal policies to expand access to homes for struggling Americans.
Workshop Set E
Public Policy Advocacy & Debate
Join this interactive session hear about COHHIO’s efforts to advance better state and federal policies and secure adequate funding to expand affordable housing and end homelessness. Meet legislators and learn how to effectively put your advocacy skills into action.
Strategies to Ensure DV Survivors Aren’t Twice Victimized
Domestic Violence survivors face numerous challenges to achieve housing stability. In this session, we’ll learn how communities have used rapid rehousing, Coordinated Entry and more to address the unique needs of DV survivors.
Shared Housing: Opportunities & Challenges
The convergence of demographic trends with today’s economic realities indicates a new openness to shared living as an innovative, lower-cost alternative housing model to reduce and prevent homelessness among individuals and families. Discover how this approach uses existing and underutilized housing to overcome affordable housing challenges.
Workshop Set F
Improving Services for Human Trafficking Victims
Discover the shocking reality of human trafficking in Ohio, and see how housing interventions can help survivors overcome their trauma. Learn to identify and serve people through wrap-around programs that target human trafficking survivors.
Tackling Health Disparities for People Experiencing Homelessness
This session highlights a case study of the Family Health Program, a localized intervention designed to improve health outcomes at a Permanent Supportive Housing campus. Learn strategies to improve health and well-being by expanding access to health services through training and education, and how to turn a demonstration grant into a sustainable project by strategically building community partnerships.
Meeting the Housing Needs of Individuals Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS has become more of a manageable chronic disease over the past decade. As with any chronic health condition, providers still need to know about the unique needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Panelists will offer a variety of approaches for housing providers and case managers to support people with resources that can help them thrive at home and in their community.