The assessment pointed to a large need for services, connection to community providers, and extensive follow up for housing-assisted populations in Memphis. HOPE VI relocatees confirmed in the focus groups that they face many challenges and are having both existing and new difficulties accessing services now that they are living in the larger community.
Memphis HOPE has a role of connecting the relocatees with community providers, but because the agency is primarily funded through the MHA's HOPE VI funds, its caseloads are large and it has few resources for tracking of and outreach to relocatees who have moved to the private market with HCVs. The agency has provided more intensive services in the past when it had additional philanthropic resources through agencies such as the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis, but at this time, it is primarily able to serve drop-in clients. In the absence of additional resources that would permit smaller caseloads and more aggressive outreach, this situation seems unlikely to change.
Another finding from our focus groups was that these residents are not being picked up by community providers in their new neighborhoods. Therefore, a key opportunity to improve service delivery would be to increase coordination between Memphis HOPE/MHA and other community providers to ensure smooth transitions for high-need MHA relocatees. Since Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) has coordination as its core mission, working to plan effective hand-offs seems like an area where the team should focus attention and resources.
In our assessment, we also pointed to the large number of new neighborhood-based poverty alleviation, service, and development efforts in Memphis. It would be useful to facilitate communication and coordination among community-based agencies that serve MHA relocatees and other low-income, vulnerable Memphis residents to create a community of practice. This coordination would help nascent neighborhood-based agencies and efforts learn from one another as they develop. Coordination may help groups anticipate common challenges and share effective practices for serving similar communities. SC2 could be instrumental in organizing a forum for regular meetings and communication so that agencies serving a vulnerable population can share lessons learned. One possible scenario would be to provide some funds to Memphis HOPE to convene the group, since they have the most knowledge about the challenges facing the MHA relocatee population.
"Memphis Final Brief.pdf" (pdf, 717.21Kb)
"Appendix A-Focus Group Materials.pdf" (pdf, 174.61Kb)
"Appendix B-Maps.pdf" (pdf, 3.81Mb)