Conference Focuses on Ending Homelessness in NC

DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen speaks to attendees at the Bringing it Home conference’s kick-off session.

DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen speaks to attendees at the Bringing it Home conference’s kick-off session. 

June 24, 2019 – The third annual Bringing it Home: Ending Homeless in NC conference brought together federal, state and local organizations to share best practices on ending homelessness. 

The conference held in May at NC State University’s McKimmon Center was an opportunity for the 386 participants to share best practices, discover new strategies, build relationships and celebrate the positive efforts being made to end homelessness. From 2010-18, homelessness decreased 24 percent in the state. 

Trainings and workshops at the conference covered topics like providing shelter during a crisis, assisting homeless veterans and ending youth homelessness. Workshops were led by federal, state and local organizations who work directly with housing and homelessness. 

NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, kicked off the conference.

“Talking and thinking about how we get people into stable homes is so foundational to everything that DHHS is trying to build,” Secretary Cohen said. “This conference reiterates how critical the issues of housing, food, transportation and jobs are to our overall health.”

Rapid rehousing was one of the conference’s focuses, leading Secretary Cohen to speak about the response to Hurricane Florence, when the department mobilized quickly to work with several organizations to prevent homelessness. She pointed to the success of Back @ Home NC, a rapid rehousing model program for people who were unable to access disaster resources and at risk of homelessness. To date, nearly 600 people have found homes through Back @ Home.

The program is now being considered for inclusion for disaster planning within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The conference was sponsored by DHHS, the NC Housing Coalition and the NC Coalition to End Homelessness.

Ryan Hill