In 2014, approximately 1,400 Stanislaus County community members experienced homelessness, and thousands more showed signs of risk for becoming homeless. Although there are over 30 programs and hundreds of concerned citizens who help people access housing, shelter, and other basic life necessities, we know that we can do much more to prevent homelessness from actually occurring. Focus on Prevention will not just work to improve the existing homeless services system, but rather address the root causes and develop strategies to intervene early to prevent homelessness.
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. In March 2017, the new Community System of Care (CSOC) Leadership Structure was formed. The new 25-member CSOC provides overall guidance for the Homelessness Community System of Care, working across multiple sectors to sustain the vision, energy, and commitment to think and act in new innovative ways to reduce and prevent homelessness.
This Community 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:
- 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.
- Coordinated Access: Developing a countywide coordinated access system that integrates all public- and community-based services and community supports.
- Housing: Improving access to temporary, transitional, and permanent supportive housing.
- Supportive Services: Increasing the availability, effectiveness and alignments of homelessness services and community supports that help people escape from and stay out of homelessness.
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