As the largest provider of social services in the region, Sacramento County provides a wide array of services assisting families and individuals experiencing homelessness to regain health, income and permanent housing.
To ensure a coordinated community wide effort, Sacramento County has been working in collaboration with Sacramento’s cities, homeless service providers and advocacy organizations in its continuum of care efforts.
“There isn’t a single reason that people become homeless or that can explain the trends in homelessness across California,” said Cynthia Cavanaugh, Sacramento County’s Director of Homeless Initiatives. “To truly move the needle in Sacramento, we need a variety of interventions and services, as well as a broad and sustained commitment to collaboration.”
After months of community meetings and public Board workshops, the Board of Supervisors
recently provided funding in its 2017/18 budget for four County homeless initiatives that both improve existing services and deliver new services to impact homelessness. Implementation is underway.
Working with the Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Agency
and the City of Sacramento
, a variety of strategies have been identified to increase the impact of public housing resources on homelessness. Those strategies include targeting some of the housing choice vouchers to this population and prioritizing families experiencing homelessness in public housing.
The vouchers will be used in a new County initiative, along with a more flexible local rental assistance pool, beginning in early 2018, assisting 250 persons who frequently use costly County services to finally stabilize and move into a permanent home.
Additionally, as the County works with Volunteers of America
, new funding has been secured to replace the loss of $2.5 million in federal funding enabling Mather Community Campus to keep its doors open. Located in Rancho Cordova, this program serves nearly 500 persons a year in a residential setting as they transition to permanent homes and stable employment.
County representatives, including the Director of Homeless Initiatives, the County’s Public Health Officer and a Sheriff lieutenant all serve on the continuum of care advisory body that meets monthly, and County staff serve on the Leadership Committee. These staff regularly work with continuum of care committees, working on crisis response, youth homelessness and coordinated entry into homeless services.
Moreover, the County provides a significant share of administrative support to Sacramento Steps Forward
, the nonprofit administrative organization for federal continuum of care funding, and funds the bi-annual Point-in-Time Count of Homeless Persons, a HUD condition of federal homelessness funding.
Working with all community stakeholders, the County will begin work on a countywide plan to combat homelessness in the coming months. This plan is necessary for new State funding to develop housing for persons experiencing homelessness with serious mental illness called “No Place Like Home.”
“We’re committed to improving existing efforts and bringing new solutions through innovation, collaboration and hard work,” said Cavanaugh.