From February 2016 until May 2016, Jeremy Croom and Joshua Barton worked with Brunswick County Homeless Coalition in the beginning stages of formulating a Strategic Plan for the organization. Both are graduate students in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program at University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). Utilizing a model taught to them in their Strategic Planning class, Jeremy and Joshua met with BCHC three times over the semester for Strategic Planning Sessions. The first session was held on February 15, 2016 and focused on Mission, Vision, and Values of BCHC. The second session was held on March 16, 2016 and focused on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of BCHC. The third and final Strategic Planning Session occurred on April 6, 2016 and focused on identifying Strategic Issues that BCHC must address. After each session, Jeremy and Joshua shared data sheets summarizing the sessions and the work that BCHC accomplished at each session. BCHC will take all the information they learned during the sessions and proceed in constructing a Strategic Plan for the organization. On May 2, 2016, Jeremy and Joshua presented their final project to their Strategic Planning class, summarizing the Strategic Planning sessions and what was learned by themselves and BCHC. Three members of BCHC attended the presentation as representatives of BCHC, Ms. Barbara Serafin, Ms. Elaine Fox, and Mr. Robert Butler.

Joshua Barton

UNCW MPA Graduate Student

MPA Fellow

For the past several years, BCHC had been a source of financial and human support for the homeless. We’ve tried to forestall and prevent homelessness by providing funds to pay for power bills, rent, and other necessities for those at risk of losing their homes. We’ve also placed people in motels where no temporary shelter beds were available. As there is no overnight homeless shelter in Brunswick County, we’ve been an advocate for building one here to provide emergency housing for the homeless.

Recent events and research are also leading us in another direction. Last year, the Brunswick County fire marshal set out new rules that will again allow local churches to house the homeless in emergency situations. This action by the County somewhat relieves the pressure for a local shelter. On the research front, a March 30, 2016 guest opinion published in the Wilmington Star News sets out the case for more emphasis on a quicker transition to permanent housing with supportive services. The author, Katrina Knight, should know. She is the executive director of Wilmington’s Good Shepherd Ministries, the primary homeless shelter in New Hanover County. In her article, she states “ We can keep adding shelters and shelter beds and allowing the ranks of homeless individuals and families to swell, or we can invest in housing strategies that shorten the length of people’s crises and return them more quickly to housing and stability in the community. “ One such strategy, rapid re-housing (RRH), is to place homeless families in long-term housing with adequate support services as soon as possible. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reported that more than 85% of rapidly-re-housed homeless families never fall back into homelessness.

Whereas RRH beds in the United States increased by nearly 60% from 2014 to 2015, North Carolina lags both the nation and many of our neighboring states in its support for rapid re-housing. From 2014 to 2015 the supply of RRH beds in North Carolina decreased by about 20%, while RRH beds increased by 90% in Georgia and 131% Tennessee.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness set out three core components for a rapid re-housing program: (1) Identify and recruit landlords by understanding and addressing their perspectives ; (2) subsidize rent and move-in expenses, and; (3)identify and co-ordinate with agencies willing to provide support services .

BCHC already addresses the second core component through our financial support programs. How should we spend our time and resources on the first and third components as well? Let us know your opinion. Come to our next meeting on the first Tuesday of each month at the Brunswick Senior Resource Center at 3620 Express Drive, Shallotte (exit route 17 north at Smith Street) to learn more and express your view.

Brunswick County Homeless Coalition

2015 Statistics

In 2015, Brunswick County Homeless Coalition Assisted 274 people, Provided 97 people 183 nights of emergency shelter, Paid Power Stats for 50 families, Paid electric bills for 12 families, Provided 16 families with rental assistance, Assisted 18 families with, transportation. Funding sources include grants, fundraisers (golf tournament), donations we receive from nonprofit organizations, and private donations.

Thank you for your donations. We have more information about how you can donate on our website.