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Housing First

On Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 at 5:30pm the Redding Area Homelessness Coalition will give a presentation of its Strategic Plan to Respond to Homelessness in Shasta County at the Trinity-Cascade Room of the Red Lion Hotel, 1830 Hilltop Drive, Redding CA.

Developed through a 6-month community planning process, the Strategic Plan proposes a cohesive set of strategies that will provide a roadmap for our community and decision-makers to address the issue of homelessness in Shasta County with a sense of urgency, and of hope.

The Strategic Plan’s priorities and action steps grew out of a series of community workshops, stakeholder meetings, and online feedback opportunities., bringing together the work of consultants HomeBase and Symmetric Solutions.

Background

By way of background, “The Women’s Fund hosted a community forum on February 11, 2016, regarding the State of Utah’s “Housing First” strategy to reduce chronic homelessness. Lloyd Pendleton, the former Director of the State of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, was the keynote speaker at the forum. Housing First is an approach to connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing without preconditions or barriers to entry, such as sobriety or treatment participation requirements. Supportive services are offered, however, to maximize housing stability and prevent a return to homelessness.”

Housing First in Permanent Supportive Housing published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, describes the Housing First strategy in more detail (see pages 64-67).

“During Mr. Pendleton’s presentation, he challenged Mayor McArthur to agree to create a Housing First pilot program to assist five chronically homeless citizens. Mayor McArthur tentatively agreed to create such a program by July 1, 2016. Mr. Pendleton challenged the Chairman of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors to create a similar pilot program.

The City of Redding does not own or manage any affordable housing. Furthermore, the City does not directly operate any social service programs. Thus, the City would need to partner with others to implement a Housing First pilot program. The City could potentially provide financial support for housing-related expenses; however, other stakeholders (private sector, not-for-profit, and/or government partners) would need to work with the City to provide the housing units and the supportive services that would be needed.”

City Council Inaction

On March 1, 2016 the Redding City Council discussed a Housing First pilot program (pages 62-63) to assist five chronically homeless citizens. Shasta Community Health Center (SCHC) Chief Executive Officer Dean Germano, spoke in support and stated that SCHC is willing to help in any way necessary. Also on behalf of Hill Country Clinic, Chief Financial Officer Nick Cutler, spoke in support of the proposal and stated that Hill Country Clinic is prepared to contribute $14,000 along with case management staff to sponsor one of the five homeless people.

“The cost for a one-year pilot program is projected to be approximately $39,500. This projection does not include the cost of furniture, utilities, or security deposits. The cost associated with these items is projected to cost approximately $30,000 for a one-year pilot program. It is important to note that the projections above do not include the cost of supportive services, which would need to be provided by a partner agency at that agency’s expense. The cost`estimates do not include City staff time, either.”

A first motion was made by Council Member Kristin Schreder, seconded by Mayor McArthur, to work collaboratively with the County and other stakeholders to create a one-year Housing First Pilot Program to assist five chronically homeless citizens, but the motion was withdrawn for lack of support. Instead a second motion, seconded by Council Member Cadd, was approved to direct staff to participate with the Implementation Team to create a Service Coordination Committee to address homeless issues; Council Members Sullivan and Weaver voted against the measure.

Links

This links to the Shasta County Homeless Snapshot, Compilation of Community Data on United Way of Northern California website.

This links to a video of the June 8, 2016 panel presentation.

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