Earlier today, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) held its seventh annual State of Homelessness Address, delivered by MDHA Board Chair, Peter Brodsky, and Homeless Collaborative of Dallas and Collin Counties Board Chair, Ashley Brundage. Brundage shared how the Homeless Collaborative is strategically aligning to reimagine the homeless rehousing system. Brodsky stressed how data-driven decision making is key to ending homelessness and called on the community to do what it takes to end homelessness. The address is posted in full on MDHA’s website.
Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD), the event’s Presenting Sponsor, introduced the speakers and set the tone for the event, noting how United Way could not achieve its goals in Education, Income and Health without ending homelessness: “The only way that will happen is if we have an effective and efficient homeless rehousing system, supported by all of us, led by the strength of MDHA.”
Brundage described the complexity of homeless services, and the use of a collective impact strategy to bring all service systems together under one community board. Brundage stressed how the Homeless Collaborative Board’s success and strength comes from it being made up of systems level leaders with the clout and network to drive multi sector solutions to end homelessness. “The key to this work is our collective will to engage, empower and align. We will amplify what works, rethink how we prioritize populations, and streamline the way we allocate resources, all to meet our goal of ending homelessness,” she said.
The Homeless Collaborative has three goals over the next 4 years: to End Veteran Homelessness by 2021; to drastically reduce chronic unsheltered homelessness by 2023; and to significantly reduce family and youth homelessness by 2025. The Homeless Collaborative has housed approximately 700 veterans (since 2019), and recently launched a rapid rehousing surge to house 550 persons.
The address featured interviews with T.C. Broadnax, Dallas City Manager, Dr. Fred Cerise, Parkland Health President and CEO, Shanette Eaden, City of Plano Housing and Community Services Manager, Ellen Magnis, Family Gateway President and CEO, and John Siburt, CitySquare President and CEO, who shared lessons of COVID-19 and underlined that the way to create measurable social change was to work together towards a set of common goals.
Brodsky announced that MDHA is actively building a data warehouse system to connect multiple data systems and unify the efforts of many disparate entities. “By tracking strategic data points in one system, we can make data-driven decisions and promote what works. Through smart data driven decision making, we will ultimately end homelessness.” Brodsky said.
The address included results from MDHA’s annual homeless count. MDHA and its partners found 4,570 individuals who experienced homelessness and around 500 who experienced chronic homelessness. A detailed report is posted on the MDHA website.
Brodsky ended the address with a call to action: “Most of us?want housing for everyone in our community… We need to ensure that our representatives in all levels of government hear us say, yes in my back yard, yes in my community… Because, even the most efficient homeless rehousing system cannot make any progress without that one thing that ends homelessness, housing.”