Local Homeless Coalitions
Local Homeless Coalitions (LHCs) are groups of organizations, individuals, and leaders interested in ending homelessness that meet face-to-face locally within Texas Balance of State communities. Local homeless coalitions make plans to address homelessness in their communities, pursue Continuum of Care goals, and lead local initiatives. There are approximately 30 Local Homeless Coalitions across the Texas Balance of State at this time.
For more information check out the following:
Use the map and contact list below to find the local homeless coalition closest to you. We recommend reaching out to the local homeless coalition’s primary contact person to ask for a meeting schedule. Don’t see a local homeless coalition near you? Fill out the form below to get started.
Coalitions create a platform for community members from different sectors and geographic areas to help participants access services.
- A homeless encampment in Denison was forced to relocate, and a team of faith communities came together to create a tent community for them. The local homeless coalition there connected with them to get the camp members access to services the faith communities did not know existed because there were no services in their area.
- A Head Start employee began attending Gulf Coast Homeless Coalition meetings in order to connect with area service providers and meet participants’ needs in one place. Attending has saved her time and improved her relationship with local providers.
Point-in-Time Counts and Housing Inventory Counts are typically more successful when led by a local homeless coalition because there is wider community involvement and coordination. Collecting this local data helps local homeless coalitions streamline services and identify gaps in their region.
- When Lamar County Homeless Coalition analyzed their shelter bed utilization rate (which comes from Housing Inventory Count data) during a meeting, they discovered a shelter was only using half the beds that were available. A shelter representative revealed that they only had enough funding to staff half the beds. A hospital representative responded that many hospital beds were being used by people that were no longer ill, but experiencing homelessness and did not want to discharge them to the streets. They found it would be more cost-effective for the hospital to give the shelter the funding it needed to have a full staff than to continue housing participants at the hospital. The funding was provided and the participants were moved, saving the community money and getting participants to access to services.
It enables service providers and community members to bolster wrap-around services through activities like case conferencing.
- Denton Homeless Coalition’s Housing Committee brings together law enforcement, service providers, health care workers, housing authority, and service providers to discuss participants. Often when a participant gets off the wait list and is offered housing, housing providers and case managers have difficulty locating the participant. By meeting with law enforcement, local hospitals, and others, they have increased their rate of successfully locating participants and getting them into housing. Case managers are also able to inform law enforcement when a participant is facing challenges or having a difficult time. This enables law enforcement to inform officers to look out for this person, reduces the likelihood that they will be arrested, and increases the odds of them getting access to mental health treatment.
Local homeless coalitions have the potential to participate in local advocacy activities.
- Lamar County Homeless Coalition held an event on Homelessness Awareness Day to gain community support for opposing a local ordinance that would criminalize panhandling. Their activity got local media coverage, and more local citizens began voicing their opposition to the ordinance.
- Central Texas Homeless Coalition spoke to their local council members opposing an ordinance that would criminalize loitering in and around their local library. Their efforts helped prevent the ordinance’s passage.
Local homeless coalitions provide an opportunity for agencies to partner and apply for funding together.
- A member agency of the Colorado Valley Homeless Coalition faced potential funding cuts due to increased service requirements. At a local homeless coalition meeting, another agency said they were able to fill the gap in services that the grant required and the agencies are now collaborating to apply for the grant.
The community collaboration that comes from local homeless coalitions increases the likelihood of communities receiving funding, as most grantmakers and government entities tend to favor organizations that work with others. While creating a local homeless coalition does not guarantee funding, it lays the foundation for building the capacity to be competitive for grants.
LHC Conference Calls
The Local Homeless Coalition Drive contains documents for coalition leaders who are interested in building and strengthening their coalition. To access the drive, click on the link below.
Community Data Worksheet – If your community has virtually no data on local homelessness, gathering statistics on local poverty and housing resources can help build the case for advocacy efforts and directing resources to preventing and ending homelessness.
More to come!