A Team Approach to Addressing Homelessness: Breaking Down Silos and a Focus on Results and Learning

A better quality of life for each and every resident and family in Stanislaus County.

That’s the goal of Focus on Prevention, the ambitious county-wide initiative that has brought together individuals and agencies from across multiple sectors to develop coordinated, cooperative strategies to address critical issues facing communities and the county.

And some impressive things are beginning to happen.

Coordinating the overall initiative is the Stewardship Council, a group comprised of representatives of government, business, education, health, non-profits, philanthropy, faith, neighborhoods, media and arts, entertainment and sports.

To begin the journey – which is what this multi-year effort is – the Stewardship Council identified homelessness as the initial area of focus. That was a logical choice, since people who are homeless, or struggling to avoid becoming such, often are separated from strong families and communities – usually with tragic consequences.

And after first focusing on the homeless, work has now started on building the foundation for the next   logical phase of Focus on Prevention – Strengthening Families, which you will hear more about in the next newsletter.

To launch the first focus, a Homelessness Action Council (HAC) was formed to develop a plan to reduce and prevent homelessness. The group met in May 2015 and began a process of mapping the current realities for the homeless and developing effective immediate and long-term strategies. Among the more than 150 individuals involved in the planning sessions were people who had been or were currently homeless, neighbors of parks impacted by homelessness and vagrancy, and homelessness services providers.

In December 2015, the HAC reached consensus and endorsed a set of priority results, indicators and strategies, which in turn was approved by the Stewardship Council as the “Common Agenda: Acting Together to Reduce and Prevent Homelessness.”

common_agenda

Developing a Community System of Care

Instead of isolated and interventions of the past, multiple homelessness services agencies and community partners in Stanislaus County have come together, aligning their efforts and forming  partnerships that have resulted in the Homelessness Community System of Care.

This system of care in which all sectors have a role and are contributing to the desired results acknowledges that service providers and partners can accomplish much more working together rather that separately.  The importance – and potential – of this alignment, shared results and learning has become crystal clear.

The system of care incorporates four core strategies:

  1. Outreach and Engagement: Improving community-based outreach and engagement strategies with a focus on identifying individuals who are not currently connected to services, and as trust is established, those individuals are introduced and connected to a variety of health, housing and community services and supports.
  1. Coordinated Access: Developing a countywide coordinated access system that integrates all public- and community-based services and community supports.
  1. Housing: Improving access to temporary, transitional, and permanent supportive housing.
  1. Supportive Services: Increasing the availability, effectiveness and alignments of homelessness services and community supports that help people escape from and stay out of homelessness.

Guided by the Common Agenda, work groups are now focused on implementing the four strategies, along with developing a map of the Homelessness Community System of Care, a visual that represents the pathway out of homelessness.

Among the accomplishments so far:

  • A Multi-disciplinary Outreach and Engagement Team has been organized and has started to meet weekly to coordinate and align efforts, targeting high priority areas, and to improve working relationships with neighborhood leaders and multi-sector partners.
  • Homelessness outreach training for community and neighborhood association leaders is underway, and a community-based volunteer homelessness outreach and engagement is organizing.
  • Work has begun on developing a countywide Coordinated Access System (CAS) that will improve access to housing, supportive services and community supports. A standardized assessment has been selected for use at existing homelessness services program sites throughout Stanislaus County, as well as at a new centralized access center in Modesto.
  • Work groups comprised of multi-sector partners are meeting with the aim of developing plans to increase access to permanent supportive housing.

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The Focus on Prevention’s Homelessness Initiative is emerging into a shared community vision and foundation for ongoing transformation and culture change that will lead to tangible improvements in the lives of Stanislaus County residents and families.

In a relatively short period of time since Focus on Prevention started, it’s becoming increasingly evident that forging multi-sector partnerships, breaking down silos and focusing on results can produce dramatic improvements in how we address the major challenges facing our communities and county.

Would you consider joining the Focus on Prevention journey? Learn how to get involved and stay updated by signing up for our email updates or visiting our website.

Volunteer Homelessness Engagement Team Orientation Session

As part of the Stanislaus County’s Homelessness Multi-sector Engagement Team efforts, we’re organizing a volunteer engagement team to provide peer and community support connections for individuals served through this effort. The orientation session is scheduled for September 7, from 6:00 PM-7:30 PM. Participants will learn about the time and training commitment to volunteer on the Multi-sector Engagement Team. Please click here to register.

Who should attend:

  • Individuals interested in volunteering on the Stanislaus Multi-sector Engagement Team.

 

Volunteer Homelessness Engagement Team Orientation Session
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Housing & Employment Services/Behavioral Health & Recovery Services
920 16th Street Suite B Suite 60B,
Modesto, California 95354

 

Meetings and Events

Faith Sector Homeless Council
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
324 College Ave, Modesto (Emmanuel Lutheran Church)
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Housing Innovation Workgroup
Wednesday, January 18, 2016 (Third Wednesday of the Month)
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
917 Oakdale Rd, Modesto, Room 2 (County Learning Center)

Homelessness Action Council / Housing and Supportive Services Collaborative 
Thursday, January 19, 2017
1700 McHenry Ave, Modesto, Suite 60B (Sutter Gould Conference Center)
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Homelessness Access Center Visioning and Planning Session
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
2701 4th Street, Ceres Community Center
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Register for this meeting

Outreach and Engagement Team
Contact: Alma Torres, Manager, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
(209) 525-6150

Stewardship Council Meeting
Monday, January 30, 2017
8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Sutter Gould Health Education and Conference Center, 1700 McHenry Avenue, Suite 60B, Modesto

Focus on Prevention Strategic Direction & Planning
Thursday, February 2, 2016
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Stanislaus County Agricultural Center – Harvest Hall, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto

Focus on Prevention: Strengthening our Families and Communites

The Focus on Prevention Initiative is building a movement to strengthen Stanislaus County families, and the neighborhoods and communities, schools and businesses, and other institutions that help them thrive. This movement emerged from a passion among leaders to support our county’s families, and a deep concern about how many of our children are growing up without the active support and engagement of their fathers and other loving adults.

We have started this effort by building a movement to prevent homelessness. We started here because people who are homeless, or are struggling to avoid becoming homeless, have often become separated from strong families and communities—with typically tragic consequences. While we have started by focusing on people who are homeless, ultimately we are building a movement that supports and strengthens every family in our county. The Stewardship Council has developed the overarching results for the Focus on Prevention Initiative.  Unlike a business, where everyone understands that success is measured by profit and shareholder value, one of the first tasks of this movement is to clarify what success means, and how we will measure it.

This movement is driven to achieve and sustain four results our families and communities:

  1. Our families are healthy—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  2. Our families are supported by strong and safe neighborhoods and communities.
  3. Our children and young people are getting a first-rate education—from cradle to career.
  4. Our families are participating in and supported by a healthy economy.

Next Steps 

The next steps include Stewardship Council members will lead dialogues with sector leaders and residents to solicit feedback and suggestions, and to build shared commitment to effect these results through sustained action across multiple sectors and communities.

View the summary report on the Focus on Prevention Results.

Homelessness Action Council Meeting

 

IMG_0125_1The Homelessness Action Council meets quarterly to plan the on-going implementation of the Focus on Prevention Homelessness Initiative. Registration is not required to attend the meeting, but we request that you confirm your attendance through Eventbrite to help ensure we have adequate space for all participants. Click here to register.

Homelessness Action Council Meeting
Thursday, July 7, 2016 from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Sutter Gould Health Education and Conference Center
1700 McHenry Avenue Suite 60B, Modesto