October 12, 2023

HSA Summary – September 2023

September 2023 Meeting Summary and Network Next Steps

The Housing Stability Alliance (HSA) gathered in person on September 15, 2023. Goals include: 1) providing context to the development of a Shared Measurement System, 2) understanding how that system would assist in decision-making across the housing system, and 3) receiving feedback from the HSA regarding the usefulness of the data narrative in decision-making. There were 65 people in attendance.

President Eureka People opened the convening by sharing our shared vision – that every person in Kent County should be stably housed—or better. To ensure that, the HSA will focus on increasing affordable housing, dissolving homelessness, and eliminating the racial disparities in the housing system. Eureka also identified specific and measurable goals tied to those objectives and described the Path to Housing Stability, with its distinct stages across the housing continuum. Next, she focused on the background and context leading to the new Shared Measurement System prototype and what kinds of data have already been gathered. Eureka shared that as the HSA’s data partner, Housing Kent desires to create useful tools and resources that will aid partners in their work of advancing change in the housing system. She noted the value of the feedback given by the HSA and other community stakeholders in the continual iterative process, creating a data dashboard that allows us to scale the best solutions for an equitable housing system. What does that mean for the shared measurement system, and how it can best serve the community? Senior Director of Data & Policy Alex Kontras presented the HSA with a case study to get at that answer.

Table Talk Sessions

There were three rounds of discussion based on the case study. Initially, groups were asked to name the current solutions available to “Nancy” (from the case study) and her family. Solutions offered included talking with the landlord, calling 2-1-1 to see about possible resources, entering a shelter, and connecting with Family Promise. It was also noted by several groups that Nancy doesn’t qualify for many of the financial supports as her income is too high.

Following the discussion, Alex shared with the HSA four tools that aided in the meaning-making of data from the Shared Measurement System. These tools looked at data on renters who are cost-burdened in Kent County, the gap in affordable rental housing, market rate rent affordability compared with household income, and annual wages needed for fair market rent across the county.

With this new information in hand, tables were asked 1) if anything new emerged that caused you to see or think in a new way, 2) how this information might lead to better solutions related to housing affordability in Kent County, and 3) In your current role, would access to similar types of data be a value-added resource to how you do your work? The main themes that bubbled up from the subsequent table talk discussions were:

  • Nancy and her family currently can’t afford to move to another location, and she represents many families across Kent County
  • While there are 14,000 households able to afford housing due to mobile vouchers, there are 32,000 that are not able to receive that assistance currently
  • The data shared is what many organizations have been saying for several years and it’s great to see the data validated and trusted
  • Policy changes are needed related to eviction records (how long they show up; should they be erased?) and reporting to the credit bureaus
  • Transportation accessibility and availability for those like Nancy, as well as seniors and those with disabilities
  • The importance of engaging the business community as well as the community’s most wealthy residents to be part of the solution

Next Steps

At the conclusion of the convening, members had the opportunity at their tables to share their initial thoughts on the Shared Measurement System prototype. Most in attendance were excited about the possibilities of leveraging similar data for grant proposals, external communication regarding their programming, and to better engage the community in understanding the housing system as it currently stands and how they can play a part in changing it.

We know that no one organization or program can fix the housing crisis in Kent County. It will take all of us in the community to change the housing system. If you have not joined one of the action teams, please consider being part of Data & Shared Measurement, Community Engagement, or Policy & Advocacy. To learn more about the teams, please visit our website and complete this form. You can also reach out to info@housingkent.org.

Housing our community is the responsibility of all of us. Please consider joining us to help build this coalition to make Kent County a model for a fair and stably housed community. Thank you for being part of this work.