Categories: News, Spotlights

Congratulations to Faith Butta on defending her dissertation, titled “A Spatial Evaluation of Housing and Supportive Service Locations for The Formerly Homeless: The Case of Charlotte, North Carolina.”

The Housing Act of 1949 set its goals to revitalize American cities and provide adequate housing and suitable living environments for families. Although this goal has been achieved for some Americans, the lack of affordable housing and homelessness continues to be a serious public policy issue. Chronic homelessness, after declining for years, is on the rise. As a remedy, many cities have adopted the Housing First model, as part of their Continuum of Care, to place people who are homeless into housing. The purpose of this study was to learn more about the locations of Housing First placements and assess their proximity to supportive services in Charlotte, North Carolina. Using geospatial analysis, the findings revealed that housing placements were quite concentrated, with the majority being located in just six zip codes, where median rents were well below the city’s average and poverty rates were higher. Residents were also disproportionately Black or Hispanic. Although most housing placements were close to bus stops, they were not close to other services (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, schools, or recreation areas). Moreover, nonprofit service providers responding to an online survey acknowledged that transportation, staffing, and funding for supportive services could be better. By adopting Housing First and implementing other efforts to increase affordable housing, Charlotte has demonstrated a clear interest in preventing and ending homelessness. Yet, there are still opportunities to do things differently by learning from other communities, which have adopted a range of creative and innovative policy solutions. Committee Chair’s Name: Joanne Carman Committee Members: Suzanne Leland, Isabelle Nilsson, M. Lori Thomas