The Town of Cary requested the services of Partners for Impact to support the town in a discovery process about the growing needs of individuals experiencing homelessness in Cary. They wanted to develop recommendations to address strategic investment solutions. The Town of Cary also sought to strengthen connections with the broader continuum of care homeless service system in Wake County, including nonprofits and Wake County government programs.


Town of Cary

Services Provided:

Planning and Design

The Problem/Challenge:

 Increase in homeless population identified in Cary since the pandemic.

Our Process:

Over a five month period, the working group and smaller subgroups met with Partners for Impact consultants. One subgroup consisted of representatives from Cary Police, Transportation, and Public Safety who are working to resolve immediate concerns alongside the discovery process. In addition, Partners for Impact consultants held key interviews with local service providers and individuals with first-hand experience of homelessness in the community.
In Cary, Partners for Impact used a System Mapping process to deeply explore and understand the relationships of agencies and services that are often siloed and narrowly focused on single issues. System Mapping aims to identify the leverage points for most effective opportunities for intervention, innovation, and change as organizations and systems move toward healthier, more impactful work. A system map provides a more comprehensive look at a whole community, including its individual members, organizations, governing structures, policies, practices, and less tangible aspects, such as attitudes and values. It seeks out the elements that facilitate forward movement toward a desired state as well as inhibitors that create barriers to that movement. These maps can be simple or very complex and capture the relationships between elements within the system. The strongest reason for using system mapping is to identify leverage points, energy and innovation pockets, and opportunity for influence (ripple effect) across other elements in the system.


End Result:

 A final report showed discovery results identifying the following areas and opportunities for leveraging change including next steps recommendations: 
  • Where the system is frozen or stuck – lack of movement or motivation/energy for movement
  • Where there is dysfunction or incomplete functioning – direct barriers to positive movement toward the desired state
  • Where there is inadequate capacity to meet needs
  • Where there are bright spots, innovation or opportunities for innovation
  • Where there is energy – could be positive or negative energy – areas that can be high leverage if energy is positive