Texas Homeless Network's 2020 Annual Report
In line with the age of online during 2020, THN is hosting our annual report on our website to create more transparency, accessibility, and inclusivity to our process of sharing about the successes of the past year at our agency.
Learn more by scrolling through the page or click through the list below based on what you want to know:
- Who We Are & What We Do
- Own the Past, Plan for the Future
- Our Latest Accomplishments in the Balance of State
- Statewide Initiative Success: Advocacy, VISTA, &Data Sharing
- The State of Homelessness: 2020 Count Results
- A Video From Our CEO
- A Letter From Our Board
- Our Current Donors
- How We Do Our Work
- Stay in Touch
Texas Homeless Network is committed to leading Texas communities
to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
Who We Are
Texas Homeless Network (THN) is a non-profit membership-based organization helping communities strategically plan to prevent and end homelessness. THN works to end homelessness in Texas by collaborating with all communities, large and small, across the state to build systems to achieve this goal. We coordinate local and national advocacy efforts, data collection and research, host an annual statewide conference, and serve as the host agency for the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (CoC) where we assist in the coordination of programs and funding.
What We Do
Click on each focus area to increase the text size if needed.
The Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care Accomplishments
As the lead agency of the Balance of State Continuum of Care, THN accomplished incredible things in the last year. From a record number of local homeless coalitions being formed to pivoting quickly and efficiently responding to COVID-19, the Balance of State Continuum of Care staff has been hard at work across our 215 counties.
Statewide Success: Our Initiatives in Advocacy, Data Sharing, & VISTA
Texas Homeless Network has greatly expanded our advocacy reach over the past year. As we expanded our commitment, we also expanded our team to include a Statewide Initiative Manager, who helps fuel our efforts alongside our CEO and Director of Development and Communications.
Over the past year, our main focus, like many other agencies, was COVID-19 response. We quickly recognized the deep and lasting impacts on those experiencing homelessness and low-income renters due to the pandemic and quickly shifted to meet the needs of our communities and neighbors. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the THN advocacy team activated to track, analyze, and advocate for state and federal policies that would assist those already experiencing homelessness and those at-risk with the subsequent economic recession. THN organized a drive for statewide donations with the Texas Balance of State for PPE and disbursed over 10,000 masks. We met with key offices of the Texas Congressional Delegation and members of key committee members within the Texas Legislature. We coordinated efforts with six of Texas’ Managed Care Organizations and requested their assistance identifying clients in need and their financial or in-kind support to assist communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and treatment for those affected.
Beyond COVID-19, we provided public comment for the proposed Qualified Allocation Plan changes, Equal Access protections, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, and a response to the 2020 USICH report. By submitting public comments and urging community responses across our state, Texas Homeless Network is ensuring a strong, consistent, collective voice for those invested in ending homelessness in our state.
Along with organizing community member involvement, Texas Homeless Network manages or participates in a variety of coalitions. The Texas Housing Coalition was formed during Capitol Hill Day this past year and brings in housing partners from across the state to work together towards common goals. In addition to the Texas Housing Coalition, THN hosts monthly Advocates Committee meetings with members across the state. Lastly, THN recently joined Every Texan’s Coalition against State Interference.
We know there is much more work to be done and we are excited for all that is on the horizon. We ask you to consider joining as a THN Advocate and signing up for our advocacy newsletter to stay informed as we move forward to the 2021 legislative session.
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Project Highlights
- Community volunteers recruited – 1,759
- Value of cash resources leveraged – $5,650
- Value of in-kind donations – $25,693
- Number of organizations reporting higher efficiency – 97
- 15 VISTA members placed across the state
Data Sharing Highlights
- Texas’ CoC leads convened in October of 2019 to commit to developing a statewide homeless management information system (HMIS) data warehouse
- By the end of 2019, the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network (THDSN) board was formed, and a data warehouse vendor was chosen via an RFP process, Green River
- The THDSN planning phase closed out early in 2020, and pilot implementation began in May
- Shrabya Poudyal, the project manager, was hired, and the THDSN data use agreement was finalized in the summer.
- Fall of 2020, five CoC communities were asked to begin contributing data to the network.
- 9 of Texas’ 11 homeless response systems participated in the project’s planning stage and continue to actively participate in its governance. Currently, 3 homeless response systems, representing 220 of Texas’ 254 counties, are committed to the project’s first implementation year.
Our Latest Blog Posts
Joe Biden & Kamala Harris Win Presidential Election: Our Work Continues Dear Texas Homeless Network friends, partners, members, and allies, As we all know, Joe
Spotlight Post: My Journey to Texas Homeless Network Author: Savannah Haney, THN VISTA Leader My journey and previous experiences are what motivate me to serve
The State of Homelessness: 2020 PIT Results
In 2020 across all 11 Continuums of Care, there were 27,229 individuals experiencing homelessness identified through the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. This represents a 5% increase since 2019 (when there were 25,848 people identified). The largest percentage increase (9%) occurred in persons between the ages of 18-24, with a slightly smaller increase (7%) seen in persons over the age of 24. It is important to note though, that there was actually a 5% decrease amongst children under the age of 18. Of those experiencing homelessness, the majority (51%) were sleeping in sheltered locations (this includes emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, and hotels paid for with agency vouchers).
Other key highlights about the state of homelessness in Texas in 2020 include:
- 3,736 individuals identified as being chronically homeless (3% increase since 2019).
- 11,407 individuals reported at least one barrier to housing (serious mental illness, substance use disorder, HIV/AIDS, and/ or survivor of domestic violence).
- 1,948 Veterans were identified, which demonstrates an 8% increase since 2019.
- A significant racial disparity between amongst Black/ African American individuals experiencing homelessness
- 10,001 Black/African American individuals counted which accounts for approximately 37% of the unhoused individuals identified in Texas. Based on the 2010 census for Texas though, they only make up approximately 13% of the total population.
It is important to note that there are inherent flaws within the PIT count methodology that may misrepresent the number of folx experiencing homelessness. While this is the main tool used to demonstrate the scope of the problem across the country, the PIT count is still likely an undercount in the majority of communities that participate. This number represents a snapshot of the minimum number of people experiencing homeless over the course of a given night.
A Video from Our President & CEO, Eric Samuels
This past program year at THN has been one to remember.
Eric Samuels reflects on the successes, challenges, and growth that has happened at our agency during this time. Ultimately, he recaps that though late 2019 through fall 2020 was difficult on us all, it proved that our agency can and will step up to meet the challenges faced by our neighbors experiencing homelessness and the homeless response systems working hard every day to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
We believe that the progress we made as a state and as an agency will lead to even better results for Texas in the year ahead.
A Letter from the THN Board
It has no doubt been a year of tremendous unrest and uncertainty. Amidst the challenges, however, Texas Homeless Network (THN) has answered the call, experiencing record growth organizationally, and gaining strength as advocates for those in need, and educating those who serve them.
As you can see, the 2020 THN Annual Report highlights many of the remarkable accomplishments of THN despite and because of the challenges of the COVID-19 environment. Among them, fund development, bringing in 10 million in grant awards for Texas agencies in the HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Fund, the largest in the fourteen-year history of the Balance of State CoC. This funding will assist people to quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experience a housing crisis and/or homelessness.
The team has been particularly active in educating policymakers and invigorating advocates on fundamental issues such as equal access rights for the LGTBQ community, supporting the expansion of racial equality efforts, and calling attention to the COVID-19 response and recovery needs of Texas communities.
Another major accomplishment was the implementation of the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network (THDSN), which will ultimately link the Homeless Management Information System data from all 11 homeless response systems in Texas. This program will help eliminate barriers and ultimately help reduce the rate and severity of homelessness in Texas.
THN is leading the way throughout Texas in providing advocacy, training, and support in helping organizations achieve their goals as well as our own.
During my time as Chair, the THN board has been instrumental in their strategic development as well as providing a combination of insight, experience, and expertise to the work. The THN board is a diverse group that is extremely active and provides support and awareness to the organization and commitment and compassion for their partner agencies, financial supporters, volunteers, and staff.
I join the entire board and extend appreciation to the THN team for their dedication and commitment to work that has been especially difficult during these unprecedented times. We are honored and proud to see all that Texas Homeless Network has accomplished in making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
THN Board Chair
Thank you to our THN Board Members
Dr. Ben King, Taylor Cook, Natalie Hicks, Tamara Foster, Dr. Benjamin Jules, Daniel Kuehn, Nathan Pisik, Jo Schaeffer. Heather Slay
Own The Past, Plan for the Future
THN and our partners across the state faced some of the biggest challenges in recent history this past year. From destructive hurricanes to a devastating pandemic to racial justice movements that pushed community conversations toward a more equitable future, we have seen the amount of resilience, perseverance, and drive of the people of this country and our great state.
While we are so proud of what we’ve accomplished this year, there is still much work ahead. For example, THN recognizes our gaps in racial justice work over the years and are determined to do better moving forward. In addition, we know that the work we do moving forward must continue to be intersectional to truly create long-term solutions for ending homelessness in Texas. As an agency, we must continue to build a better future for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. We commit to strategically doing so in all aspects of our work in the following ways:
Advocacy: In 2021 we are launching an Advocacy Academy for people with lived experience of homelessness or housing insecurity, supporting intersectional legislation in the upcoming session, and fighting against discriminatory bills. We will continually monitor federal policies including things such as Equal Access for our LGBTQ unhoused neighbors and the Fair Housing Act. We will also launch a cross-sector coalition with agencies and organizations around the state to explore ways in which our work can strengthen through ongoing partnerships.
Balance of State: In the next year, we are creating new standards for projects across the state that will advance our racial justice work. THN seeks to enhance system planning for the TX BoS CoC with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and justice. The activities for the upcoming year will focus primarily on addressing racial and ethnic disparities in experiences and outcomes for people in homeless situations who participate in homeless services in the TX BoS CoC.
The goals of this work will be:
- To promote a shared responsibility for different aspects of the planning process;
- To increase the CoC’s ability to address disparities that exist in the Coordinated Entry process;
- To coordinate with a more diverse group of stakeholders, including people with lived experience;
- To improve the monitoring and evaluation process and to promote more inclusive policy development.
Currently, we are contracting with Homebase for an independent review of a gaps analysis survey for the Balance of State to curate better and more responsive services for the 215 counties we serve.
Internal agency work: We are currently creating structured conversations on racial justice and equity work in our agency. Agencywide conversations will be facilitated through no less than three structured, topic-based discussions internal to THN with the goal of creating a common language and a shared understanding of critical concepts, such as race-equity and the role of THN in promoting anti-racist work. We are also intentionally building policies for the inclusive and equitable hiring of staff, contracting with external entities, and recruiting for our boards and committees.
Thank You to Our Supporters
As a membership-based nonprofit agency, our work would not be possible without our agency members, business members, and individual donations. We want to take a moment to say thank you to all those who donated between September 2019 and September 2020 (the time period of our annual report). From the bottom of our hears, we are grateful for your continued support of our mission and work.
Advocacy Outreach, Betty Hardwick Center, Caritas of Austin, City of Laredo, City of Plano, CitySquare, Community Foundation of Abilene, Community Healthcore, Corpus Christi Hope House, Downtown Fort Worth Inc., Endeavors, Front Steps, Galena Park Independent School District, Good Neighbor Settlement House, Grace Place Ministries, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, Haven For Hope, Haven for Hope of Bexar County, Hidalgo County Community Service Agency, Hope Beyond Bridges, J DePenning Consulting, Inc., Kaufman Christian Help Center, La Posada, LifeLine Shelter For Families, Louisiana State University, Lubbock Open Door, Make A Way Wellness, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, MHMR, MHMR Tarrant County, Mid-Coast Family Services, New Hope Housing, Inc., Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Peace Empathy Love (Personal Org.), Rising Tide Ministries, Shelter Ministries of Dallas DBA Austin Street Center, South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless, StarCare Specialty Health System, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, Texas Panhandle Centers, Texas Veterans Commission, The Bridge – Homeless Recovery Center, The Center – Kaufman, The City of Waco, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD – PATH Program, The Humility Project, The Salvation Army Carr P. Collins Center, The Salvation Army Victoria, The Salvation Army – Grayson County, Transcend STEM Education, Twin City Mission, United Way of Lamar County, The University Of Texas at Austin, West Texas Homeless Network, WOMAN, Inc.
Peggy Adrian, LaRue Agresti, Kirk Becker, Al and Susan Coe, Jenny Achilles, Amanda Ashcraft, Steve Baker, America’s Best Charities Employee Match Gift Donors, Donna Birdwell, Shaniqua Brown, Marilyn Brown, Shayna Brown, Erica Cardenas, Eric Chambers, Sophia Checa, Kenneth Combs, Taylor Cook, Stephanie Day, Amy Dixon, Tyler Drake, Mary Foss, Samantha Foss, Tamara Foster, Ali Foyt, Martha Frazier, Robert Gass, Krystle Gervais, Tamara Greenzweig, Dianna Grey, Sandra Griffith, Diane Grimm, Jullian Gunawan, Judith Henderson, Kyra Henderson, Kristen Hicks, Teri Holtcamp, Joey Isaac, Ebony Jackson, Alex Janavaris, Hoor Jangda, Adam Johnson, Grace Kay, Ben King, Tameka King, Betty Kirkpatrick, Katherine Kinser, Denise Kornegay, Sarah Kuecker, Daniel Kuehn, Patty Lamoine, Karlene Lewis, Betty Littrell, Diane Locke, Heather Lowe, Mollie Lund, Corey Mason, Annie McAlmon, Elizabeth McCracken, Lorenzo McFarland, Aleyne Means, Jessie Metcalf, Eve Molnar, John Meier, Robert Monjure, Kate Moore, Emily Northup, Julia O’Hanlon, Melissa Opheim, Nate Pisik, Alyssa Puckett, Zohaib Qadri, Jo Quinn, Joe Ramirez, Melissa Rauch, Naoimi Reynolds, Cliff Robertson, Claudia Rossel, Eric Samuels, Erika Sanchez, Patrick Schultz, Todd Shell, Heather Slay, Linda Spurlin-Dominik, Leslie Spurlock, Mary Rychlik Stahlke, Laura Stelling, Ben Strube, Taylor Strube, Marcy Thompson, Chesley Viger, Kristofer Walker, Karen Weakly, Chad Wheeler, Ken Wilson, Linda Xiong, John Zakoor, Kristin Zakoor, and Maria Zakoor.
How We Do Our Work