The headline indicators that Circlebuild seeks to impact are rates of homelessness and the rate of grandparents raising grandchildren.
Homelessness for Kent County public school students reached 5% during the 2016-2017 school year. Housing is a serious challenge for Kent County residents facing any of the following barriers: bad credit, unstable employment, criminal record, and poverty. The barriers are compounded due to limited stock of rental properties in Kent County– most opportunities depend on word of mouth and personal connections with land lords. Housing instability and racial disparity is also evident through student mobility rates – while white students remain in the 10% range, African American and Latino Students reach 20 to 30 percent mobility. National research shows that a family with an incarcerated father nearly doubles the risk of homelessness, and families are more transient after the incarceration of either parent. In FY18 four of the families in the Circlebuild program lacked a stable night time residence. The four families encompass 39% of individuals enrolled.
KCLMB convened a housing forum in February 2018. Board members and 17 partner organizations attended to look at prior initiatives, local strengths and challenges, and to identify priorities. Major contributing factors include serious gaps in the continuum of care (especially emergency and transitional housing options), barriers to finding available rental options that include discrimination, and a lack of affordable housing.
In FY18, Kent County had the third highest rate of grandparents raising grandchildren in Maryland, after Somerset and Dorchester counties. With a base line around 15%, followed by two years of very high rates, the trend line is gradually improving. During the planning retreat in June 2017, KCLMB contributed substance use, incarceration, economic instability, and abuse and neglect to this indicator.