Montgomery County's Plan to End Homelessness Receives National Award

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the American Planning Association (APA) have named the Homeless Solutions Community 10-Year Plan for the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, as the 2016 recipient of the HUD Secretary’s Opportunity & Empowerment Award. 

Jointly presented by HUD and APA, the HUD Secretary’s Award recognizes a plan, program, or project that has been in effect for at least three years and improves the quality of life for low- and moderate-income community residents. Emphasis is placed on how creative housing, economic development and private investments have been used in or with a comprehensive community development plan to empower a community.
“In Montgomery County and the City of Dayton, our goal is not to ‘manage’ chronic homelessness, but to end it and we have seen remarkable results,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge.   “We are ending chronic homelessness by working collectively to implement the plan’s strategies, collectively with nearly 200 people representing consumers, providers, neighborhood groups, government jurisdictions, philanthropy, business, nonprofits, education, housing and the faith community.”  

The plan is data-driven and based on best practice models providing a creative, coordinated and collaborative approach to tackling the moral and economic challenges of homelessness. Four key principles are identified within the plan: poverty reduction, housing, prevention, and multi-system response. The plan has changed the shape of the homeless assistance system in Dayton and Montgomery County.

“Congratulations to the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio for developing a plan to effectively end chronic homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “The team’s focus on homelessness is exemplary, and their innovation and commitment will help transform people’s lives for the better.”
“Since the plan was adopted, chronic homelessness in Montgomery County has been reduced more than 50 percent with almost 600 new permanent supportive housing units created for young adults, single adults and families,” said Kathy Werkmeister, president of the Ohio Conference of Community
Development. “Additionally, the community created a coordinated effort by all area agencies serving the homeless while eliminating duplicate services and making core services more efficient and effective.” 

Prior to adoption of the plan, the homeless ‘system’ was more of a collection of dedicated providers who individually stepped up to fill the need. Now there is a cohesive, coordinated homeless system implementing a set of agreed upon community strategies. The Homeless Solutions 10-Year Plan has changed the shape of the homeless assistance system in Dayton and Montgomery County. The community has already witnessed a dramatic decrease in the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness – 79 percent since 2005.

The plan has been f  ormally adopted by the City of Dayton, Montgomery County, and the United Way of the Greater Dayton area. The plan has also been used as a model to shape other community initiatives on substance abuse, ex-offender reentry and poverty reduction.

“Dayton and Montgomery County have created a national framework for communities looking to solve homelessness once and for all,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, APA 2016 Awards Jury chair. “By working together, the community proves that we can create communities of lasting value.”

View Montgomery County’s Homeless Solutions Plan at:  http://www.mcohio.org/departments/human_services_planning_and_development/homeless_solutions/homeless_solutions_plan.php 
The 2016 APA National Planning Award recipients will be honored at a special luncheon on April 4, 2016, during the APA National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The award winners will also be featured in the April 2016 issue of Planning magazine.

For a list of all of the APA 2016 National Planning Excellence and Achievement Award recipients, visit www.planning.org/awards. APA’s national awards program, the profession’s highest honor, is a proud tradition established more than 50 years ago to recognize outstanding community plans, planning programs and initiatives, public education efforts, and individuals for their leadership on planning issues.