- The property was acquired with a new social impact financing model designed to move veterans into permanent housing and preserve existing affordable housing.
- Charlotte is one of 10 target large cities in Built for Zero chosen for this level of investment because they have built a successful strategic partnership ecosystem that has resulted in a 25% percent reduction in veteran homelessness since 2018.
- Built for Zero supports over 100 communities across the country that are working to measurably and equitably end homelessness. Charlotte joined Built for Zero in 2015 and has since moved 727 veterans into permanent housing, proving that it could be one of the first large cities to reach functional zero, a measurable milestone for solving homelessness.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2024
Charlotte, NC — Today, Community Solutions, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness, announced the acquisition of a first property in Charlotte, The Park at Ferentino, to accelerate community efforts to reduce veteran homelessness and preserve existing affordable housing. The acquisition is part of a broader initiative to leverage a new social impact financing model to introduce additional real estate assets within certain communities participating in Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative.
Charlotte is one of 10 target large cities in Built for Zero chosen for this level of investment because they have built a successful strategic partnership ecosystem that has resulted in a 25 percent reduction in veteran homelessness since 2018. Built for Zero supports over 100 communities across the country that are working to measurably and equitably end homelessness, using a data-driven, systems approach.
Karen Pelletier, Division Director, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, said: “The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care is grateful for our continued partnership with Community Solutions. Strategic efforts such as this will help ensure that homelessness is a brief circumstance for residents in our community. Very often, people on Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s “By-Name” list of persons experiencing homelessness are approved for rental assistance or a voucher, but can’t find a unit because of price or tenant selection criteria. More options in the market will help our clients that are approved for rental assistance, and will improve the overall system.”
This new model will acquire housing that will help select large cities accelerate their journey toward functional zero, a milestone for measurably ending homelessness for a population. Charlotte is among other cities, like Denver, Sante Fe, and Nashville, using this new model to close the housing gap and quickly match veterans on their local by-name list with permanent housing.
David Foster, Manager of the Community Solutions Large Cities Housing Fund, said: “Through our Built for Zero initiative, we work with communities that are proving it is possible to reduce homelessness when they harness a data-driven, systems-focused approach. In the course of working toward zero, many communities — particularly large cities with tight housing markets — are also needing the means to create permanently affordable housing in a way that is faster and more adaptable than many traditional approaches allow. Thanks to this social impact investment model, we will be able to help many large cities accelerate their progress, while continuing to scale a model that offers cities across the country a way to crack this critical challenge for ending homelessness.”
As of June 30,2023, 233 veterans were on Charlotte’s real-time, by-name list. Of those veterans, 51 currently have a housing resource, such as a housing voucher or subsidy, and are looking for an available unit. However, there is not enough supply to move the qualified veterans into housing. Acquiring The Park at Ferentino will help close that supply gap and provide local permanent housing and wrap-around services.
Kally Canfield, Charlotte’s Built for Zero System Improvement Advisor, said: “Charlotte is proving that a large city can solve homelessness. While there are no overnight solutions, they have been dedicated to continuous system-level improvements and finding solutions to barriers that arise in order to achieve population-level reductions. By having a coordinated system and real-time, by-name data, they are able to know exactly what is needed to solve veteran homelessness, and this property is one piece of that journey.”
The acquisition of The Park at Ferentino and its 216 units will scale a unique and proven model that Community Solutions has tested in Nashville, Denver, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Baltimore and Santa Fe.
Social impact investing has opened up a critical pathway to addressing the housing gaps needed to get to zero. The traditional tax credit financing model used to develop affordable housing is slow and often unable to keep up and adapt to the changing needs within a community. In comparison, social impact financing delivers projects in less time with less cost while creating greater flexibility to meet the changing needs of a community over time.
This funding will bring housing directly to the system that serves people experiencing homelessness. In order to ensure this funding supports overall reductions in homelessness, the portion of units set aside for those experiencing homelessness will be leased directly through the homeless response system. In Built for Zero communities, these systems are designed to know everyone experiencing homelessness by name, in real time. By increasing direct access to units, communities will be able to promptly connect units with those in greatest need.
The housing will implement approaches proven to promote long-term housing stability for all of its residents. The buildings will be leased with a 50/50 mix of units for people exiting homelessness and units for middle income individuals. Properties will also be managed using an enhanced property management model that coordinates services and support to all tenants to ensure they can stay stably housed.
Unlike many approaches, this model is designed to create permanently affordable housing. At the end of a ten-year investment hold period, buildings will be refinanced and transitioned to non-profit ownership. This will ensure long-term affordability and mission-alignment.
Community Solutions is a nonprofit committed to creating a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. It leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 90 communities in the United States working to measurably and equitably end homelessness. Using a data-driven methodology, these communities have changed how local systems work and the impact they can achieve. To date, 14 communities have reached a milestone known as functional zero, a milestone for ending homelessness for a population. Learn more at www.community.solutions or follow us at @CmtySolutions. Media Contact: Lauren Barnes, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Community Solutions: Lauren Barnes, email@example.com
- CoC Contact, Karen Pelletier, Karen.Pelletier@mecklenburgcountync.gov