10 Year Plan

Our Journey Home: The 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness is a community-wide initiative to greatly reduce the incidence of homelessness and eliminate chronic homelessness in Pitt County within 10 years. Adopted by both the Pitt County Board of Commissioners and the Greenville City Council in September 2008, the plan uses and builds on the existing resources of various service agencies by reinvesting and redirecting current resources, as well as by identifying new resources in a coordinated and sustained effort that addresses the underlying causes of homelessness.

The 10 Year Plan focuses on two major goals:

Goal 1: Provide community-based services and support to prevent homelessness before it happens and to diminish risk for homelessness to recur; and

Goal 2: Create adequate short-term housing options and supportive permanent housing for those who are chronically homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

To achieve these goals, the 10-Year Plan incorporates strategies for:

  • prevention and crisis management to stabilize individuals and families BEFORE they become homeless;
  • development and expansion of permanent supportive housing programs for chronically homeless individuals;
  • increasing the supply of affordable housing targeted to low income households;
  • coordination and development of partnerships with multiple agencies at the local, state and federal levels to access programs impacting homeless individuals and families, as well as funding opportunities; and
  • management of data to evaluate progress and outcomes of strategies outlined in the 10-Year Plan.

 

Myths and Facts

  
 

Myth:

Why are people homeless?

Fact

:

The root causes of homelessness are poverty and lack of affordable housing. Homelessness does not discriminate; families with children, single adults, teenagers, and elderly individuals of all races struggle with its devastating effects. A 2007 survey conducted in over 80 North Carolina counties found that there were 10,904 people identified as homeless, including 3,280 people in families, 2,001 of whom were children. There are two trends that are largely responsible for the rise in homelessness over the past 20-25 years: a growing shortage of affordable rental housing and a simultaneous increase in poverty.

Myth:

Most homeless people choose homelessness.

Fact:

Homelessness is almost no one's choice. In one estimate, approximately 6% of the homeless chose that as as lifestyle. But, it is not so much that people choose homelessness, as some refuse the demands made upon them to maintain a house or apartment. Most people who become homeless are willing to do whatever they can to return back into the standard economic requirements of our society. It is the chronic homeless who have difficulties entering back into the work force.

Myth:

There are ample services for the homeless.

Fact:

It depends on the city as to what services are available. Part of what services are available depend upon one's goals. If one is only seeking to give homeless the least amount of nutrition to survive, then perhaps there are enough services. But if one os hoping to see the homeless get past their social difficulties and become an economically viable member of society, the United States doesn't even have a fraction of the resources to meet the needs of the homeless.

Myth:

The homeless need to help themselves.

Fact:

Homeless people on the street have tried to help themselves and found it to be very difficult. Forty percent of people who have experienced homelessness get off the street in less than six months. The rest of people who find themselves homeless for years have tried to get off the street, but found it impossible. The chronic homeless are those who have tried and have given up. It is now up to someone else who can assist the homeless to step in and to give them a step up.

Myth:

Setting up services for homeless people will cause homeless people from all around to migrate to a city.

Fact:

Studies have shown that homeless people do not migrate for services. To the extent they do move to new areas, it is because they are searching for work or family.

Myth:

Homeless people are a fixed population who are usually homeless for long periods of time.

Fact:

The homeless population is quite diverse relative to their length of homelessness and the number of times they cycle in and out of homelessness.

Myth:

Homeless people are mostly single men.

Fact:

Families constitute a large and growing percentage of the homeless population. A recent study found that families comprise 38% of the urban homeless population. Other research has found that homeless families comprise the majority of homeless people in rural areas.

Myth:

Homeless people don't work and get most of their money from public assistance programs.

Fact:

Many homeless people are among the working poor, and a relatively small percentage of them receive government assistance. A nationwide study in 1987 found that only 20% of 1,704 homeless people received public assistance. A study done in Chicago found that 39% of the homeless people interviewed had worked for some time during the previous month.

Myth:

Homeless people are mentally ill or substance abusers.

Fact:

About 25% of the homeless are estimated to be mentally ill, about 40% are alcohol or substance abusers, and about 15% suffer from both disabilities. One percent may need long-term hospitalization.

Myth:

Homeless people are dangerous and break the law.

Fact:

In general, the homeless are among the least threatening group in our society and are more likely to be victims of crime. Although they are more likely to commit non-violent and non-destructive crimes, they are less likely to commit crimes against person or property.