Friday, March 28, 2014

Campus Visits are Better than Ever

Students may notice a new set of wheels traveling on campus roads this spring. Two new shuttle buses, wrapped with the UNC Charlotte logo and "VISIT. LIVE IT. LOVE IT." now tour campus daily, as the undergraduate admissions campus visit program expands its daily tours of campus.
New buses augment walking tours for prospective students, families.
Each year, about 9,000 students and their families tour the UNC Charlotte campus, and this visit experience is the primary decision-making factor that influences the student’s decision to apply or enroll. "As the campus has grown, so has our visit program," says Claire Kirby, director of undergraduate admissions. "We wanted to be able to show our visiting prospective students and their families more of the campus, which we were unable to do with a walking-only tour."
The two new buses, which seat 48 people and one which offers handicapped accessibility, will allow our visitors to complete their campus tour to include a view of the football stadium and CRI, then to South Village to view residence halls.
Students who sign up for a campus visit will begin their experience with a 30-minute presentation about admission requirements from an admissions counselor. After the presentation, groups of families are paired up with "Niner Guides," student volunteers who walk the families through the central part of campus to the Student Union. "The Niner Guides add their personal student experiences on this portion of the tour while they explain what classes or programs are held in each of the campus buildings," adds Kirby. "This current student perspective adds a personal touch to the campus tour, and helps prospective students and their families gain a real understanding of whether UNC Charlotte would be a good fit for them."
After the walking portion of the tour, these families will hop aboard the new shuttle buses and tour the outskirts of campus, giving them a more complete view of our growing campus.
The daily campus visit program is offered Monday through Friday, and select Saturday mornings. Reservations are required and can be made online.
                                                                            # # # 

Health & Human Services Study: Housing Program Helps Save Lives, Money

By Latricia Boone

A Charlotte-based permanent supportive housing program is finding success in its efforts to improve stability for chronically homeless individuals while also helping the community to save money, according to a report from  UNC Charlotte’s College of Health and Human Services.
The report “Moore Place Permanent Support Housing Evaluation Study” examined the Moore Place housing program and how it is supporting individuals struggling with the devastating effects of homelessness, especially those suffering from disabling conditions such as mental illness, addiction and physical health issues. 
Moore Place
Social work assistant professor Lori Thomas led the evaluation team that studied the impact of the Moore Place program on the housing, clinical and social stability of its tenants and on their emergency room and jail utilization. The team, which included experts from the UNC Greensboro, N.C. A&T State University and the University of South Carolina, concluded that Moore Place has succeeded in maintaining a high housing stability rate for its clients. The report also found that the program helped to reduce inappropriate service utilization in hospitals and jails among its tenants -- alleviating a burden on law enforcement and emergency health services.
With 85 apartments, Moore Place is the centerpiece of the Urban Ministry Center’s HousingWorks program. It is based on a philosophy that housing homeless individuals first stabilizes their lives and provides the foundation for successful outcomes.  Since opening in early 2012, Moore Place has provided permanent housing and comprehensive support services to individuals with extensive histories of homelessness and a disabling condition, such as behavioral health disorders, chronic health conditions, physical disabilities and developmental disabilities. Moore Place is the first in the Charlotte area to operate using the “Housing First” philosophy.
Lori Thomas
 “’Housing First’ is ending homelessness for some of Charlotte’s most vulnerable,” Thomas said. “This study adds to a growing body of research that suggests that even the hardest to serve in our communities can be successfully housed and that housing with necessary supportive services not only leads to better outcomes for individuals but is cheaper for the community.”
Overall, the study found:
  • Moore Place tenants are dealing with challenges that surpass the vulnerability of those in comparable programs nationally
  • Moore Place is demonstrating high housing stability rates after one year of housing
  • Area hospital bills, emergency room visits, and lengths of hospitalizations have decreased during tenants’ first year of housing at Moore Place.  There was a 78% reduction in emergency room visits and a 79% reduction in in-patient hospitalizations, resulting in a 70% reduction ($1.8 million) in hospital bills in just one year
  • Arrests and jail stays of Moore Place tenants decreased during their first year in the program. There was a 78% reduction in arrests and 84% reduction in jail stays
Another outcome reported by Moore Place tenants was greater social support among friends, as compared to their circumstances prior to entering the program.
According to the evaluation team, the newly released findings are part of an intermediate phase of the research project. The final phase will continue to document the housing stability of tenants, as well as clinical, social and community impact that may be further associated with the program in tenants’ second year of residency.
Moore Place is owned and operated by the Urban Ministry Center, an interfaith organization that provides an array of services to meet the needs of Charlotte’s homeless population. Later this year, the Moore Place project is slated to expand by an additional 35 units of housing for the chronically homeless.
                                                                              # # #
Latricia Boone is communications director for the College of Health & Human Services.