Friday, October 31, 2014

Big Bang? That's What We Do!

Paul Quinn College:
Thursday I attended Big Bang, a day that celebrates social innovation in Dallas, at Paul Quinn College (PCQ). Before it started I was privileged to see the tail end of the men's basketball team practice, and visit with the men's basketball coach, my good friend, Chad Baruch, who is also a civil rights lawyer. (We both used to be assistant principals at Yavneh Academy.)

Dallas Mayor, Mike Rawlings, gave a wonderful opening speech. Here is a bold quote: "A great idea, if it's not scalable, it's nothing... We need capital to create more capital." Wow, that reminds me of a certain organization. It's on the tip of my tongue... Oh, yeah - MDHA! Why do I say that? Well, read on, and you'll see.

MDHA in a Nutshell:
The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) is an association of organizations devoted to ending homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties, by putting people into homes. In order to end homelessness, it facilitates over $16,750,000 of annual federal funding, coordinates services, and drives improvement in more than 45 different transitional housing (TH), rapid rehousing (RRH), and permanent supportive housing (PSH) programs.

Fulfilling Dallas’ Responsibilities:
Under U.S. Law, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not directly fund service providers, rather mandates that they be funded through local Continuum of Care (CoC) organizations, led by lead agencies, which coordinate all facets of the grant application process. U.S. Law also requires all federally funded service providers to report on their performance through a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which tracks, grades and drives improvement across the CoC, and in each individual organization. MDHA is the federally designated CoC organization lead agency and HMIS operator for Dallas and Collin Counties.

Value for Money – MDHA’s ROI:
We forecast the cost of MDHA at about $1.1 million next year. This relatively small amount of money “propels” the more than $16,750,000 of annual federal funding. As each program must and does raise match and leverage funds, MDHA in effect “propels” another approximately $20,500,000 in non-federal annual funding. Furthermore, MDHA has also facilitated the Dallas Housing Authority’s housing of 3400 formerly homeless individuals and families at an ongoing annual value of over $28,000,000. In essence every $1 spent by MDHA, “propels” an additional $59! Not a bad return on investment…

Sustaining MDHA:
The federal government expects local communities to provide most of the funding for the operations of CoCs and HMIS. MDHA hopes to realize about $450,000 in earned income. The remaining costs must be raised through other means. MDHA is in the process of signing agreements with local governments that will result in $200,000-$300,000 of steady annual funding that will enable MDHA to improve services, as well as decrease its reliance on philanthropy. That said, for the foreseeable future, philanthropy will remain an essential source of income for MDHA.

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