Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Introducing the Continuum of Care Strategic Work Plan 2017-2018

Last week, five of us at MDHA, led by Cindy J. Crain, President and CEO, attended the largest annual gathering in our field, the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference. This was my first time, but on one particular point, it confirmed what I knew already. Though every community is different, the modern homelessness crisis manifests in much the same way across the country. And, in much the same way, over the course of the last 10-15 years, we have learned how communities can make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring, by applying evidence-based data-driven solutions.
These are the same evidence-based data-driven solutions, laid out in Opening Doors, the national strategic plan to end homelessness, commissioned by Congress and the President. They have guided our work here in Dallas, since the beginning of 2015, and upon them our Continuum of Care (CoC) Strategic Work Plan 2015-2016 was built. Opening Doors envisions a homeless response system, which diverts those experiencing homelessness who can self-resolve and helps them do so, places those who cannot self-resolve into appropriate housing, is entirely oriented towards housing as the solution for homelessness, and practices full transparency, as a tool for learning and systems change.
In 2015-2016 MDHA made substantial progress in realizing its vision for such a system, and in 2017-2018, it is building on that. To that end, over the last few months, we engaged subject matter experts, board members, service providers, those experiencing homelessness and the community at large, to build our Continuum of Care (CoC) Strategic Work Plan 2017-2018. In its final form, approved by the MDHA CoC Board on July 21, 2017, it sets specific goals, measurable objectives, and reporting mechanisms. These will drive our work, the work of our partners and the work of our community, as we continue to work towards our ultimate goal, making the experience of homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring, in Dallas and Collin Counties.

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