Homeless Task Force funds Patrick McCaffrey Foundation for Tiny Houses

By Marcy Cooper

I want to thank our community groups, the Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, CHP, the selection committee, and the full Homeless Task Force. It has been voted and recommended that the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation receive $300,000 for building tiny houses, buying land, having an outreach team, and transporting folks as needed - thus saving vital services for locals living between Sea Ranch and Forestville.

Here is a short synopsis of one part that will be provided; next month I will write regarding tiny houses and land trusts.

We are proposing a multi-dimensional approach to help displaced Lower Russian River residents and unsheltered get assistance to achieve financial, workforce services, employment, and housing stability.

Our Care Team, modeled on a similar program successfully implemented in Marin County and the city of Santa Rosa, will reach out to displaced families and individuals, assessing their situation, and literally driving them to get the care and other resources they need, with emphasis on placement in existing housing resources.

Housing-first based programs like ours can’t be effective without the housing. Given low county-wide vacancy rates, high numbers of cost-burdened renters and homeowners, and significant loss of housing of the recent fires, we see an acute immediate and on-going need to create additional affordable housing resources for our target population. Our Remaking Home Program will trainable and willing program participants for part and full-time jobs building new mobile and fixed foundation SRO housing, which will be made permanently affordable (30% of income) by establishing a limited equity housing co-op.

Care Team: Our Care Team is committed to transforming the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness, chemical dependency, and mental / physical disabilities through comprehensive street outreach that restores dignity and partners with them to reach their housing and life goals. We do this by meeting people where they are in order to build participant-centered relationships and by establishing creative community partnerships that eliminate barriers to services.

Care Team would provide the following lines of services:

• Street/ Encampment Outreach

• Engagement and warm-handoffs from the street to (or between) urgent/ emergent institutions.

• Operate Monday through Friday 24 hours / day and responds to requests from 211, Care Coordinators, Police, Fire, and Urgent/Emergent facilities such as hospitals for street outreach/intervention and transports- with our own van.

• The goals are to, within two hours, respond and determine if the individual can be cleared for transport and provide warm-handoff to and/or from urgent/emergent facilities.

• Provide targeted search and outreach of system-wide high users of urgent and emergent services and other high-risk homeless individuals as identified by 211 (citizens) and health care coordinators.

• Perform wellness checks and attempts to engage individuals into services and other resources as identified by community care plans.

The Care Team will operate one street Outreach team whose goals are to engage, assess, and combat homelessness for individuals living on the lower Russian River. Our Outreach staff works to build trust with those experiencing homelessness first by helping to meet some of their basic needs with our partner agencies, this includes shelter, food, clothing, showers, laundry, hospitals, transportation, identification, etc.). We will partner with each individual to access housing, employment, medical care, mental health care, licensed chemical dependency treatment, and other services.

The Care Team uses a participant-centered “whatever it takes” approach, and employs comprehensive wrap-around services to meet participant needs. The program promotes sobriety and strength-based recovery philosophies through its daily functioning, and utilizes acuity-based, data-driven, and outcomes-oriented processes to meet its goals. The program also assesses medical and behavioral crises and refers clients to emergency care as appropriate.

Marcy Cooper, MSW, Veterans Village, Inc.. 707.290.7775, veteransvillage.org, veteransemploymentcommitteesf.org

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