Planning Begins for Modesto Homelessness Access Center and Low Barrier Shelter

accessFrom the Modesto Bee:
“Stanislaus County’s effort to get homeless people off the streets could take the form of an access center with temporary housing and services to help them rebuild their lives. With architects donating their time, local agencies are developing plans for a full-service access center to meet the needs of local homeless residents. Roughly 100 people attended a brainstorming session Wednesday to discuss logistics. Proponents imagine a center with 60 beds – 45 for homeless individuals and 15 for families. Those who take advantage of the housing opportunity would be permitted to stay up to a few months while getting their lives on track and receiving assistance from staff at the center.”

Read the complete Modesto Bee story by clicking here.


Outreach and Engagement Center Opens

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  • Instead of waiting for individuals experiencing homelessness to come in for services, outreach staff seeks them out in the community.
  • “The opening of the Outreach and Engagement Center for the homeless in our community was the result…of dedicated and caring individuals in our county collaborating to make this a better place for all of us to live.” ~ Supervisor Terry Withrow, Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, District 3

Stanislaus County Focus on Prevention collaborative welcomed a diverse and committed turnout of community members, nonprofit administrators, local government leadership and elected officials to celebrate the opening of Modesto’s new Outreach and Engagement Center, located at 825 12th Street. Assemblyman Adam Gray, Congressman Jeff Denham, and a host of other local officials acknowledged the need for homeless services and greater access, commending the efforts that went into the Outreach Center opening.

The new Outreach and Engagement Center will coordinate the provision of multiple services for those in our community struggling with homelessness. Many individuals experiencing homelessness are disengaged from — and may be distrustful of — public systems and may be reluctant to seek assistance. Outreach and engagement efforts allow communities to bring services directly to people experiencing homelessness who otherwise might not seek out services and connect them to housing and necessary supports. Instead of waiting for individuals experiencing homelessness to come in for services, outreach staff seeks them out in the community.

Initially staff from the County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Department, Community Services Agency, Homeless Court Program and Chief Executive Office will be housed at the Center. By this fall 2017 offerings will expand to include a Housing Assessment Team and other co-located homelessness service providers and community partners, and will be open for walk-in access Monday – Friday. The OEC will not be open for walk-in access until September or October 2017. This development allows the community to bring services directly to people experiencing homelessness who otherwise might not seek out help, and connect them to housing and necessary support.

Supervisor Terry Withrow, of the County’s Stewardship Council said, “The opening of the Outreach and Engagement Center for the homeless in our community was the result of thousands of hours of work, and hundreds of dedicated and caring individuals in our county collaborating to make this a better place for all of us to live. It is only the tip of the iceberg as we watch many more great things come out of the Focus on Prevention Movement in Stanislaus County .”

For more on Focus on Prevention visit


Focus on Prevention will receive $2.5 million to tackle homelessness

Stanislaus…will receive $2.5 million to tackle homelessness

Stanislaus County launched Focus on Prevention two years ago to deal with homelessness through a community-wide approach. Withrow said Gray met with him and other county officials a few months ago to learn more about the initiative.

“He sat down with us with some of his staff,” Withrow said. “He was impressed with Focus on Prevention and that it was not just another county program, that it was community driven. And he wanted to help get money for us. He was sold with the movement that was happening in Stanislaus County.”

Click here to read the complete article @ Modesto Bee

Strengthening Families

31176357631_668c9faa57_kFocus on Prevention Strengthen Families planning is underway. Ultimately we will build a movement to strengthen and support all families in Stanislaus County. To begin, however, we want to engage a small number of families so we learn how to build effective strategies of prevention that involve all ten sectors. We will learn from these beginning efforts and then expand to additional families across the county.

The first population we will engage in this effort will include:

Individuals who are, or have been engaged in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, their families, and families that have been directly affected by their actions.

To start the planning process, a new collaborative leadership group consisting of 27 leaders from key agencies and community partners has formed and they have committed to lead the second movement focused on strengthening families. This leadership group consists of leaders that manage a large percentage of the publicly funded services and community partners committed to helping our families. As with the homelessness initiative, the group has started to identify all the resources and programs that serve this population in the county, and identifying critical partners and stakeholders needed to form the next Action Council. The new Action Council will begin meeting in June to develop the common agenda for this effort.

Developing a Homelessness Community System of Care


Homelessness Community System of Care Launching
On March 9, 2017, the Stanislaus County Housing and Support Services Collaborative approved an amendment to the By-Laws establishing the new Stanislaus Community System of Care (CSOC) Leadership Structure. The new 25-member CSOC will provide overall guidance for the Homelessness Community System of Care working across multiple sectors to sustain the vision, energy, and commitment to act and think in new innovative ways to reduce and prevent homelessness. Learn more about the CSOC meetings.

Access Center and Low Barrier Shelter
Progress has been made toward building a new homelessness Community System of Care, or service continuum, for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Progress toward two key aspects of the new system—the access center and low barrier shelter—is slower than anticipated. The original site proposed for the Access Center and the low barrier shelter did not work out as a viable and cost effective option. We are moving aggressively to secure a new site.

At the same time we’ve had a setback in establishing a location for the Access Center, we’ve secured funding and resources from multiple partners to help launch the Access Center and the Community System of Care. Below is a summary of a few of the resources and partners:

Read more about this in a recent Modesto Bee article.

Homelessness Court
These system level accomplishments in aligning and establishing a new CSOC leadership structure are leading to new opportunities. On March 28, 2017, the Superior Court was notified of a State grant award of $593,089 to develop an outreach program to assist homelessness individuals in mitigating unresolved legal issues as an incentive to access housing and support services. This grant was developed leveraging the Focus on Prevention multisector partnerships and planning, which positioned the Court in a highly competitive and ultimately successful position. We anticipate the foundation Focus on Prevention has built will continue to produce similar results and additional resources. As a recent $1.4 Million investment by local business leaders highlights, the additional partners and resources are not only materializing in the public sector, but the private sector has demonstrated a commitment to a Focus on Prevention as well.

Volunteer Homeless Outreach Orientation

Individuals who wish to begin volunteering for outreach are invited to the Volunteer Homeless Outreach Team Orientation.  Community volunteers are certified through Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), and are part of the Multi-disciplinary Engagement & Outreach Team.

Date & Time
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Behavioral Health & Recovery Services
Housing, Support Services & Engagement Office
920 16th St, Modesto (Suite B),

Local Business Leaders Announce Major Investment in Focus on Prevention

A major charitable investment has been announced for the Focus on Prevention initiative, the long-term, multi-sector approach to addressing large-scale challenges in Stanislaus.

Over $1.4 million has been committed to Focus on Prevention by local business leaders Tom Norquist, David Halvorson, Sylvester Aguilar, Vinson Chase, Ted Dickason and Gary Boudreaux. The group, which included businessman Carl Boyett before his death last year, served as advisory members for the Credit Bureau Fund that was administered by Stanislaus Community Foundation for the past decade. Grants from the Credit Bureau have supported various nonprofits since the Credit Bureau shuttered its operations and sold its assets. After learning about the work Focus on Prevention has undertaken to organize the county’s homelessness services, the advisory group is allocating the majority of its funds to Focus on Prevention.

“We’re making this investment in Focus on Prevention because we believe in the work that it’s doing,” said Tom Norquist, a retired businessman and Chair of the Credit Bureau advisory group. “We know it’s going to take a long-term commitment to reduce homelessness in our region, among the other issues that Focus on Prevention is tackling in the coming years.”

Focus on Prevention is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder initiative that was initially chartered by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in 2015. The county-wide initiative aims to improve the quality of life of all Stanislaus residents and families through coordinated prevention efforts that work across multiple sectors to promote health and wellbeing. The first goal of Focus on Prevention has been to create a coordinated system of care to reduce and prevent homelessness, and soon the initiative will expand to include families impacted by members who are justice-involved.

“After years of grantmaking in the region, we were pleased to see a coordinated approach to addressing homelessness,” said David Halvorson, President of American Chevrolet. “We’re putting a stake in the ground with this investment because it’s time to fund solutions, not talk about problems.”

The Focus on Prevention Fund will be administered by Stanislaus Community Foundation in response to grant requests by the Focus on Prevention Stewardship Council, comprised of local leaders from ten sectors. The grants will underwrite innovative solutions that cannot be addressed by government or nonprofit funding alone.