This report reflects on the accomplishments THN made over the past year. From securing historic funding for homeless service providers and those experiencing housing insecurity to assisting Texas programs through one of the hardest years in recent history, we are proud to share with you our 2022 Annual Report on Ending Homelessness.
Learn more by scrolling through the page or click through the list below based on what you want to know:
Texas Homeless Network (THN) is a non-profit membership-based organization helping communities strategically plan to prevent and end homelessness. As our CEO Eric Samuels states, “We are a leader, we are a connector, and we empower.” Through our statewide work, THN makes a difference in ending homelessness.
We know we can’t do this work alone, or in a silo. THN focuses on collaboration to achieve making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. Our mission is as big as the state of Texas, and we won’t stop until we accomplish it. Learn more about our work by viewing our latest video now.
THN has three primary focus areas: education, resources, and advocacy. We work tirelessly to support service providers and communities through these focus areas to accomplish our mission of making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
Every day, we coordinate local and national advocacy efforts, lead collection and research on homelessness-related data, 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 for 215 counties. Our work doesn’t stop there, we also organize and host the only annual Texas statewide conference on ending homelessness, providing vital education to service providers and stakeholders. Learn more about what partners have to say about our work in our latest video.
As the lead agency of the Balance of State Continuum of Care, THN accomplished incredible things in the last year. We are proud of the work that our staff and our community partners did in the Balance of State Continuum of Care staff across our Texas 215 counties.
One of the largest expansions of THN’s operations over the last four years is our state and federal advocacy efforts. Advocacy remains a vital part of our mission to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring by seeking systems change and funding to increase the stock of affordable and supportive housing in addition to ensuring assistance is provided to prevent people from following in the homelessness.
All advocacy work is done in collaboration with other organizations and individuals in Texas and across the country. We could not do our work without you and our amazing partners across the state. Some highlights of our collective federal efforts for Texans include:
THN’s statewide advocacy efforts focused on providing testimony during the Texas legislative special session and during interim hearings on what’s needed to prevent and end homelessness. THN also devoted time and effort to providing input on state agency guidelines that govern how funding is awarded competitive grant processes and encouraged partners from around the state to do the same.
Items of note include:
During the final two months of 2022 THN and advocacy partners met with legislative staff to work on potential legislation for the upcoming 88th legislative session. These proposals include assistance to prevent homelessness for community college students, incentives to assist voucher holders to access housing, a doubling of the Supportive Housing Rental Assistance (SHRA) program, and funding for an expansion of the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network (THDSN).
The importance of advocacy – local, state, or federal – cannot be underestimated. As with most non-profit organizations, it is incredibly difficult to secure funding to continue these efforts. We are honored to be a 2023 Opportunity Starts at Home recipient and will be able to continue these efforts next year.
One of the primary ways we continue to do this work is through your generosity in donations and becoming a member of our Advocates Committee. We ask you to consider donating to support our advocacy and signing up for our advocacy newsletter to stay informed as we move forward to fight for an equitable future for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.
AmeriCorps VISTA members remain critical to THN’s efforts to end homelessness across the state. VISTA members participate in anti-poverty indirect service and capacity building at partner sites focused locally on their homeless crisis response system. Here are a few highlights from this past year’s VISTA members:
The importance of data collection and research within homeless response systems is crucial. As part of THN’s efforts to expand data-sharing collaborations with our Continuum of Care (CoC) partners and various public health systems, THN launched the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network (THDSN), which next to California is the largest statewide Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data integration effort in the United States.
With the implementation of the THDSN, service providers, faith communities, local governments, and anyone working to prevent and end homelessness in Texas now have the ability to access housing and resources across the geographical borders of homeless response systems; a capability that was not an option previously. The THDSN also allows statewide homelessness data to be analyzed in real-time for the first time which has significant advantages in terms of research and strategic planning that may impact policy change at the state level and programming on the local level.
In 2022 (year two of project implementation), project expansion efforts were steadfast. Here are a few highlights from this past year:
This past year at THN has been one to remember.
Eric Samuels reflects on the successes and growth we experienced at THN over 2022. With more technical assistance, more outreach, and more funding than ever before, we are proud of the work we did in 2022. We believe that through our dedication as an agency, alongside our partners across the state, that we will continue to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
This year has presented plenty of opportunities to reflect, consider how far we’ve come, and practice deep gratitude. As you can see, the 2022 THN Annual Report highlights many of the remarkable accomplishments of THN despite and because of the challenges of the political, social, and even the public health environment. Among them, fund development, bringing in millions in grant awards for Texas agencies in the HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Fund, one of the largest in the over the fifteen-year history of the Balance of State CoC. This funding assists people in quickly regaining stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis. In addition, the planned launch of our focused initiatives supported by last year’s award from the Day 1 Families Fund puts THN in a position to aggressively intervene in hopes of achieving “functional zero” homelessness in several smaller Texas communities in the coming years.
Given the Texas legislative session this year, the team has also been as active as in educating policymakers, advocating for solutions to end homelessness, and invigorating THN’s network of community advocates on fundamental issues such as equal housing access rights, effective and efficient ways to address unsheltered homelessness, unique challenges to rural housing instability and homelessness prevention, and the recovery needs of all Texas communities. This year will undoubtedly present a number of policy challenges to our work. THN, including it’s staff, members, and partners, plans to fight hard for the rights and welfare of Texans in response.
As the long, strange history of the pandemic fades behind us, without ever actually leaving obviously, it leaves behind a legacy – built of shared trauma – but also of lessons learned through our response and the maintenance of new systems of care that we built together. The member organizations, staff, and partners of the Texas Homeless Network (THN) continue to step up and support their mission. The organization has, against all odds, once AGAIN experienced record growth while building on and improving from all the innovation born over the last couple of years. Confronted with a generational public health challenge, THN gathered strength from the communities it serves, advocating for those in need and educating those who are in a position to help.
All this and THN is still leading the way throughout Texas in providing advocacy, training, and support in helping organizations achieve their goals as well as our own.
During my brief time as Chair, the THN board has contributed to our strategic development, organizational vision, and partner relationships. The THN board is a committed, creative, and diverse group that is extremely active and provides support and perspective to the organization. Their commitment and compassion is reflected in their respect and admiration for THN’s staff, member organizations, partner agencies, financial supporters, and volunteers.
I join the entire board in extending our deep appreciation to the THN team for their dedication and commitment to work that has been enduringly, and increasingly 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.
Dr. Ben King
THN Board Chair
Dr. Ben King, Taylor Cook, Tamara Foster, Natalie Hicks, Howard Bookstaff, Paul Charles, Dr. Melissa Escamilla, Daniel Kuehn, Becki Mangum, Billy Moyer, Ben Nakhaima, Nathan Pisik, Todd Shell, and Marissa Vogel
THN and our partners across the state faced unique and sometimes nearly overwhelming challenges in the past few years. However, through it all, we persevered and did what was needed to help Texans at risk and those currently experiencing homelessness. As we return to something resembling our old normal, the ultimate goal of preventing and ending homelessness hasn’t changed. But, the inequities the pandemic highlighted and the shifts in addressing homelessness and housing instability necessitated by that crisis will and should impact the strategies employed to meet those goals as we look ahead to the future of THN.
While we are so proud of what we’ve accomplished in 2022, there is still much work ahead. 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:
Strategic Direction: THN is committed to addressing racial disparities and working internally and externally to develop more equitable policies and systems of care. We have contracted with Racial Equity Partners to help our agency conduct a racial equity organizational assessment as well as update our strategic plan to focus on racial equity and justice. Throughout this process, we will be engaging partners from across the state as well as THN staff to provide their valuable insights and suggestions to develop a comprehensive racial equity and strategic plan. We are also continuing to intentionally review and update our policies for the inclusive and equitable hiring of staff, contracting with external entities, and recruiting for our boards and committees.
Advocacy: THN, its Board of Directors, and its partners will redouble efforts to advocate for state and federal legislation that strengthens homeless crisis response systems so communities can prevent and end homelessness more efficiently. Equal priority will be given to promoting expanded access to permanent supportive and deeply affordable housing. THN will lead efforts to collaborate with overlapping systems of care such as health care and workforce development systems.
In 2023 THN will work with lawmakers in the Texas 88th Legislative session to provide support to households that ensure funding providing their housing vouchers will be efficiently used. Supportive Housing Rental Assistance will be doubled to the overwhelming need of people receiving mental health care while unhoused. Finally, THN will work with policymakers to expand the Texas Homeless Data Sharing Network.
Balance of State: THN will work in partnership with the TX BoS CoC Board to implement and carry out the proposed activities from the CoC Action Plan over the next year. While the TX BoS CoC has made progress on ending homelessness, the current system and resources allocated to addressing homelessness are not sufficient to make the impact that the CoC wants and that people experiencing homelessness in the CoC deserve. The action plan aims to enhance the housing crisis response system. This plan is intended to rally stakeholders around common CoC-level goals and to enable communities and service providers to identify local activities to support CoC-wide strategies.
Some of the focus areas for the next year include:
The strength of our agency comes from our supporters – our donors, members, staff, volunteers, directors, and board. With your backing, we can build more robust programs, create enhanced member incentives, and provide more education opportunities for Texans. But most importantly, your donation supports our mission to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring in Texas.