Housing@100% means all county residents have a safe and secure place to call home.
Housing@100% means all county residents have a safe and secure place to call home.
Inside The Center
Here’s a quick overview of what you will find below.
What Families Face
Short stories from families facing challenges, illustrating the need to address barriers to vital services.
10 Innovations Await
The sidebar menu takes you to ten innovations areas, each one providing projects action team members are implementing to remove barriers to services.
The Root Causes
We provide an overview of why families struggle to access vital services in what we might call “normal times” and in times of public health or economic crisis.
A Pandemic’s Impact on services
A brief review of how the pandemic impacts each county across the state.
Where on Earth
How solutions exist today.
The Center’s Mission
Housing for 100%
Welcome to the Center for Housing@100%, the nation’s first center to provide county and city stakeholders with research, data-driven strategies, insights and support to end housing security disparities on a countywide scale, ensuring all resident’s housing needs are met. Housing disparities, lack of timely access to stable, safe and affordable housing, has been with us for as long as we have been building villages and housing humans on the planet. In the last few decades societies of all sizes have found ways to provide accessible housing for all residents.
In modern societies the cause of housing insecurity can often be tracked down to lack of investment in the human capital and resources to secure the right supply of affordable housing. In the USA, a country with vast amounts of wealth and resources, we have all the technology and know how to make housing insecurity history.
One quick online search will overwhelm you with solutions to the housing disparities problem. The enormous number of results shows that there are many people searching for answers, interested in understanding the root causes of housing insecurities and how to solve it.
When we begin to “Google it” for results:
The root cause of homelessness: 1,590,000
How do teens become homeless: 25,300,000
How to build affordable housing: 147,000,000
Affordable housing grants for nonprofits: 11,100,000
Software focused on designing affordable housing: 64,700,000
“Housing insecurity and homelessness is a man-made problem, not an act of nature, requiring human ingenuity to solve.”
— From the book Housing@100%: How we ensure all county residents can access safe and affordable housing
Within an internet full of valuable research, inspiring insights and distracting clutter, solutions await you here in the Center for Housing@100%. Your introduction to the issues here in the “Center’s Main Hall” will guide you to what we call our ten “Innovation Areas” where action team projects await your review and engagement.
What the Center for Housing@100% provides you with are the strategies to ensure, county by county, that systems of affordable housing are working effectively to serve all residents. We live in a time of vast knowledge regarding innovations in sustainable, green, affordable and safe housing and neighborhood planning where the only reason for a family (or any resident) going without easy access to affordable housing in your locality is manmade. The human ingenuity you discover here can ensure that 100% survive and thrive.
Ensuring safe and stable homes is key to creating a secure, stable and healthy community for all. Sudden crises and financial strains associated with housing disparities often lead to unstable and unsafe housing that can, in turn, lead to a series of challenges that range from childhood trauma to domestic violence. We all need a stable base to engage in learning, job readiness and steady work. So much of today’s housing is not just expensive but more expensive than it needs to be. And, it’s even more costly in the neighborhoods where the nicer schools, clinics and community centers exist. Add to this that we know some people require assisted-living (see Behavioral Care Health@100%), and this means designing living spaces to address a variety of medical and mental health care needs.
In the Center for Housing@100% we take on a very complicated system with numerous challenges. We provide an overview of housing, housing systems, shelters and assisted living, with all their solvable challenges. Get ready to be inspired. We will guide you through all the steps to put ideas for enhancing services to reduce housing insecurity into action.
What Families Face
*These are fictionalized profiles based on real New Mexican residents.
Jen and Marie's Story
It’s Time For Heroic Acts
You are about to review approximately twenty projects within 10 innovation areas that can, if done successfully, improve the quality and accessibility of current services. The long-term goal of these innovations and projects is to ensure that 100% of county residents have access to this vital service. Your task is to review all projects, individually and as part of an action team, to identify which one you wish to implement. In the time it takes to enjoy a latte, you can give our menu of innovations a quick read, starting with Innovation #1: Tracking Supply and Demand and ending with Innovation #10: Developing the City Dept. of Housing. These include projects initiated by action teams focused on a county and all the communities within its borders.
Housing insecurity has a very long history
Housing insecurity is impacting our most vulnerable children, students and families with consequences for education, job readiness and public trust of government..
Housing Disparities Face Us All
STABLE HOUSING HAS EVERYTHING to do with our quality of life. If we can access safe, affordable housing (and if in an emergency rapid-rehousing in a timely manner), we function better and we are healthier. If our access to stable housing is threatened, we are in serious trouble.
Every county has residents experiencing housing insecurity and some have segments of the population reporting extreme difficulty accessing housing security programs. In times of crisis like a pandemic, access to stable housing becomes even more critical.
With literally millions of people reading articles on ending housing disparities and thousands of foundations, governmental and non-governmental organizations focusing for decades on ending homelessness in the United States, why is access to affordable housing still so prevalent across fifty states? Why are school districts staffing homeless student departments and students arriving at school with problems related to lack of stable and safe homes? Why do parents working full time not have enough money for a safe place to raise a child? Why do housing security programs have long waiting lists and how do cities literally run out of assisted housing for their most vulnerable residents? In a pandemic, can we afford to have any child or adult without a healthy place to live?
We don’t mean to question our good-hearted leaders in political, academic and philanthropic circles, but there appears to be a complete disconnect between those who claim to have answers and the actual implementation of solutions to ensure 100% of our residents are able to access stable housing. What are our morals, ethics and values that allow housing security and homelessness to exist amid so much abundance?
What kind of society would allow a policy of benign neglect to doom entire zip codes to housing insecurity? Why should our most vulnerable children and families ever endure anxiety and trauma because safe housing is out of reach? If we ever needed a public and private sector solution to housing insecurity, this is the moment.
Truly, why are we all not asking in loud public forums, “What is the root cause of housing insecurity impacting our children, students and parents in the US?”
“Can’t all people just figure out how to rent or buy a place?”
Housing needs to be accessible, affordable and safe. In a country this wealthy there is no good reason for anyone to be homeless and no reason we can’t invest in housing assistance programs for those with physical and emotional challenges. It’s been done successfully in some cities, so why not yours? There are many different strategies for making that happen, but this much is clear: if we make that dream a reality, we’ll have healthier and safer kids and far more stable families.
Housing is a survival issue for children and adults. In our 100% New Mexico initiative, we brand housing as one of our survival services. Simply put, problems related to housing insecurity can drag down school performance, strain relationships and generally stand in the way of a good life for kids, parents and anybody else. Neglect, the main reason parents have their children taken into child protective services’ custody, may be the result of parents not being able to secure safe and stable housing.
Our best bet for addressing a host of health challenges related to housing insecurity is ensuring easy access to quality, comprehensive housing at an affordable price or with subsidies for our most vulnerable residents with health challenges.
What We Know
Our county survey will tell you why families and all residents may struggle to access affordable housing programs. Reasons include lack of programs, cost, no transport to programs, unaware of programs and unfriendly hours.
Who Lacks Housing?
Housing insecurity has many causes
With state-of-the-art technology designing green, sustainable and affordable models for housing, it seems inconceivable that kids or adults in our country should suffer from lack of affordable housing.
In fact, the reality on the ground has been, up to now, difficult to gauge when it comes to specifically measuring housing insecurities in communities. Are lots of people ill and slowly dying on the streets, due to homlessness? This is an important question, but the real question is, “What does housing insecurity look like?” A mom and her two toddlers sitting on a park bench may not conjure up images of housing insecurity. However, we don’t know how safe their home is or if they can afford it for long. We have no idea what type of stresses they are under if due to domestic violence their housing situation is traumatizing. We don’t know if that mom was just laid off and is trying to find a new way to pay the rent.
What percentage of people lacking access to safe housing is acceptable to you and your elected leaders? How does a pandemic impact the question of how difficult access to affordable housing may be in both rural and urban communities? Would you be okay being told your appointment for a housing security program, that might be able to help, is going to be taking weeks or months to access? Should any child, anywhere in your county, face barriers to secure housing?
We ask: what are the root causes of housing insecurity?
The list covers a range of causes and solutions.
- A health catastrophe: People lose their houses for medical reasons all the time. Maybe the bills pile up and bankruptcy is the only way out. Maybe they pay their bills but then there’s no money for rent. Maybe an illness knocks out their income stream. Maybe a mental health breakdown does the same thing, or just gets them evicted.
- A relationship catastrophe: Breakups and divorce can throw people into an unstable housing situation, especially if one partner was financially dependent on the other. It could also take the shape of parents disowning an LGBT child, or a child running away for some reason.
- Not enough money: Having secure housing is often just a matter of having the right figures on your bank statement. Often, a relationship or health catastrophe leads to a financial catastrophe, but it could also just be a landlord raising the rent or an adjustable rate mortgage adjusting the wrong way.
- Safety concerns: A teen has to escape from a very unsafe home situation where neglect or abuse is the norm. These young people won’t, most likely, have the resources to find housing.
Data Guide Us
With data from the 100% New Mexico survey and other sources, you have a good idea about where the need for housing support may exist in your county and why it’s difficult to access — for both parents and youth. While global, national and state data on housing support is very interesting and instructive, the real data that informs your work is generated by your 100% New Mexico initiative and deep dives into local neighborhoods. Then again, you may be surprised by your survey results and learn that a challenge is far bigger or smaller or more localized than originally thought.
Ensuring Services: A Local Challenge
People face different levels of hardship and risk during a pandemic directly related to their level of access to the 10 vital services for surviving and thriving. Inaccessible medical care, a lack of housing and food programs, and greatly increased joblessness during the associated economic downturn take a tremendous toll on families. It doesn’t have to be this way.
A Pandemic’s Impact on Services
Vital Questions Require Answers
In so-called “normal” times before the COVID-19 pandemic, health disparities were a fixture of our society. The pandemic has only increased the stresses on the health care systems as well as created more urgency for people to have timely access to prevention and treatment. The most pressing questions for your city, county and state elected leaders and stakeholders include:
- How do we collect, analyze and publish the most timely data to guide prevention strategies?
- How do we ensure enough COVID-19 tests and testing sites?
- How do we ensure providers have the protective equipment required to be safe?
- How do we ensure enough contact tracing?
- How do we prevent homelessness and hunger if people in lock down or quarantine lose their job?
- How do we strengthen mask-wearing and social distancing?
- How do we ensure treatment, both hospital beds and providers?
- How do we distribute the vaccine with buy-in from the public?
- How do we address depression and trauma by ensuring access to behavioral health care?
- How are vital family services for surviving and thriving made accessible to 100% of residents?
As you can see, question #10 places access to ten vital services into a comprehensive state and local strategy to prevent the pandemic. The 100% New Mexico initiative’s framework for ending barriers to services is vital and our work is urgently needed in each county. New Mexico State Senator Bill Soules, PhD, wrote in his Op-ed in the Las Cruces Sun News, “100% New Mexico: A model for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment”:
“…an effective response to the pandemic goes beyond the medical sector. The countywide response required ten accessible services, allowing families to keep stabilized, supported, fed and housed, in order to comply with the state’s public health guidelines and to endure quarantining, isolating, social distancing and mask-wearing.”
We can happily report that many localities across the nation and globe have successfully prevented housing insecurity by ensuring robust housing security programs which may include a public sector solution or a combination of public and private sector solutions.
Where on earth?
Where has this challenge been fixed?
Housing@100% is looking at tested housing solutions, focused on innovations, projects, policies and programs implemented in large and small cities around the world.
If you have come this far, you know that ending housing disparities in your community starts with knowing the magnitude of the problem, where precisely activities that indicate challenges (homelessness, public substance misuse, community violence and arrest, etc.) are experienced and why children, youth and adults can’t access affordable housing in safe neighborhoods to address the problems.
We present a challenge to you, your local business people and government leaders: create a seamless countywide system of housing programs to make homeless and housing insecurity history so every child, student and family member gets the stable housing they need to thrive.
As you will see below, we have offered only a sliver of what’s out there in terms of innovations that have been shown to reduce housing disparities and to empower individuals of all ages to find a path to secure housing. Some models have been with us for decades and are tried, true and evaluated strategies. Some are quite new and merit experimentation and their own evaluation. We do not lack solutions, just the political will to implement them.
Three important frameworks
As we say in 100% Community, we want to reference the data-driven framework called Continuous Quality Improvement and its four phases: assessment, planning, action and evaluation (100% Community, Chapter 29). This four-step process will guide your development of innovations in the arena of medical and dental care. And, as a reminder, you will want to use Collective Impact (100% Community, Chapter 31) to organize your project and Adaptive Leadership (100% Community, Chapter 30) to determine if the particular challenge you seek to solve is technical, with established protocols for moving forward, or adaptive, where you are entering new uncharted territory without a clear path.
Designing a Countywide System
The past: How did we get to this point of needing family-friendly housing programs? Who exactly needs services to be “family-friendly” anyway? What are the problems the system is supposed to solve? Why don’t people just figure out the systems on their own? Can’t everyone access care in a timely manner?
The present (action agenda): Within this subject, we’ve identified ten strategies — called innovation areas — that can be used to tackle the affordable housing access problem. Within those we suggest about twenty 100% New Mexico initiative projects that you (yes, you) can take on, thus propelling your community towards accessible housing in its many forms.
The future (goals): With enough work on these innovations/projects, we’ll get to the point where Innovation #10 — the creation of a City/County Department of Housing — becomes a reality. With a state-of-the-art system of care in place, 100% of our county’s families could report excellent support and service.
Since we are currently in the present creating the future, your commitment to innovation is most eagerly sought and needed.
Partnerships and teamwork
At the heart of innovation are change agents implementing data-driven projects shown to fix barriers to services.
10 INNOVATIONS TO EXPLORE
CHANGE AGENTS NEEDED NOW
The following innovations represent strategies that have the capacity to increase access to affordable housing and housing security programs to ensure our children and families are healthy, safe and successful.
As you will see as you explore Innovations #1–#10, a countywide system of housing security programs engages all stakeholders within the county’s borders that include data specialists, the private sector, technology experts, public awareness specialists, educators, city planners, housing builders, housing advocates, city mayors, council members and county commissioners. Your work will be groundbreaking as it unites leaders in all sectors to achieve one goal: Housing for 100%.