What is Destination: Home?
The original publication “Destination: Home–a Ten-Year Journey to End Homelessness in Evansville and Vanderburgh County” was the result of a two-year collaborative effort involving over 200 individuals. The report looked to a future in which homelessness no longer has a place on our list of acceptable evils.
On any given night, it was identified that nearly 400 individuals are housed in our emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. Over a third of them are under the age of 18.
The original ten-year plan established the parameters for ending homelessness in our community by addressing both the root causes and the effects of homelessness.
Like many other communities across the nation, we have sought to identify core issues and develop strategies to address them.
If we are to develop effective means of addressing homelessness, we must first assess the factors that lead to homelessness in our community through the development of a comprehensive data-gathering and evaluation system.
We must then address the identified issues head-on and develop strategies that effectively close the front door to homelessness. We can do this by clearly identifying the individuals most at-risk for homelessness and developing services that address the gaps between personal income and expenses that result in the loss of housing.
For those who are already homeless, our task is to open the back door and establish them in permanent housing. This can be accomplished by changing our perspective on the delivery of services. Stable housing itself is often key to the success of the services that will equip people to build a secure future. Rather than allocate services only to those who are classified homeless, the creation of supportive housing units will allow individuals and families to continue to receive the services they need while they have the security of living in their own apartment or house.
To accomplish this goal, we must build the infrastructure of our community in ways that recognize the key role of secure and affordable housing and the necessity of incomes that match the cost of living in Vanderburgh County, and facilitate access to existing services that both prevent and address homelessness.
The success of this plan also depends upon increasing public awareness of the solutions to homelessness and the ways we can all work together to build a community where each of us finds secure and affordable housing.
As the result of a two-year collaborative effort involving over 200 individuals, Destination: Home establishes the parameters for ending homelessness in our community by addressing both the root causes and the effects of homelessness.
Evansville and Vanderburgh County joined over 325 communities in planning to end homelessness not just continuing to manage the issues through crisis and emergency approaches. Destination :Home was released to the community in December 2004 and implementation began in 2005.
In 2011, the Commission on Homelessness decided to review the plan given it was eight years old and we were coming out of a recession. A request for proposal was issued and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) was awarded the contract to help the community review and refine the plan using a charrette model. In May of 2012, over 100 local residents participated with 38 local and national experts and 6 CHS staff to create 116 recommendations. Many of the recommendations supported the existing strategies with an added focus on community awareness, facilitation infrastructure and advocacy.
The United States Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness released a corresponding plan to prevent and end homelessness called Opening Doors on June 22, 2010.
The Plan is focused on four key goals:
- Finish the job of ending chronic homelessness in five years
- Prevent and end homelessness among Veterans in five years
- Prevent and end homelessness for families, youth and children in ten years
- Set a path to ending all types of homelessness
Many of our local strategies align with the federal goals and objectives.