Homelessness Response Team
Who are we?
The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Homelessness Response Team consists of a 5-member team of individuals who possess expertise in mental health, substance abuse disorders, domestic violence, workforce development, public health, and housing. This team works directly with the homeless population to navigate them to the proper resources in our region. The team also conducts regional outreach and coordinates with partners such as local governments, nonprofits, churches, law enforcement, and social service organizations.
What areas do we serve?
The Homelessness Response Team serves the WPCOG region that consists of four counties: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and, Catawba, including the 24 municipalities within those counties.
Who do we serve?
The WPCOG created the Homelessness Response Team to assist individuals experiencing homelessness and support the organizations serving those individuals within our region by working with various agencies such as nonprofits, law enforcement, churches, social service organizations, and others who assist the population by navigating those persons to existing resources. The team works directly with those experiencing homelessness by meeting with individuals on the streets, encampments, or other public areas to understand their underlying challenges and provide assistance. This information is shared with area partners to coordinate local and regional efforts to serve the homeless population.
The team is working with those who are experiencing homelessness, those who are at risk of becoming homeless, those who are fleeing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, veterans, and other populations who have a high risk of housing instability.
How is the Homelessness Response Team funded?
A US Department of Housing and Urban Development grant from the American Rescue Plan Act that addresses homelessness challenges due to the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic provided funding to create the Response Team. The award amount of $4.2 million funds the team’s efforts to assist the homeless population through 2030. A future phase includes using these funds to provide additional housing vouchers to those who meet eligibility criteria.
How and when was the Homelessness Response Team formed?
The initial planning stages began in 2022 with the WPCOG staff meeting with various stakeholders throughout the four-county region including local governments, nonprofits, churches, law enforcement, and social service organizations. Once the WPCOG gathered stakeholder input, the consensus was that the best use of the $4.2 million over seven years was to assemble a Homelessness Response Team. The team works to connect the homeless population with the resources available within the region and to provide coordination among the various service providers. The Homelessness Response Team was fully staffed in November 2023.
How can I learn more? How can I get involved?
Call us at 828-485-4297, or email Chasity Houck at email@example.com. The team would welcome the opportunity to present or discuss our efforts and how you can help!
The WPCOG is a regional governmental agency governed by and serving the 28 local governments in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties with 75 professionals. The WPCOG provides a range of services to local governments and residents throughout the region. Those services, departments, and programs include administrative and human resources services to local governments, Area Agency on Aging, Community & Economic Development, Community & Regional Planning, financial administration for local governments, Regional Public Housing Authority, Workforce Development Board, and many other programs.