The Task Force Times

July 2019 Edition

CEO Corner

Best Practices for Better Outcomes

As we advance into the summer, the RTFH continues to lay the developmental groundwork that we have set out to accomplish in establishing more formalized best practices for our region. We have been leading in this work throughout this month: convening public comment on outreach, outreach shadowing, and solution-based outreach training with talented and highly trained consultant assistance. We have hosted our third weeklong session of Diversion training, empowering our dedicated providers with even more tools that they can utilize to connect with clients in a more nuanced, personalized way to best serve their needs.
In addition, we attended the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) conference along with a strong contingency of local and national leaders and service providers. This conference offered an array of focused sessions that highlighted many different populations of people experiencing homelessness, and afforded us a sharing of best practices from Continuum of Care (CoC)’s across the country. We were also granted an opportunity to discuss our region’s resource needs on Capital Hill at the conclusion of the conference.
All of these activities throughout July have endured as a refreshing reminder, a renewed commitment to performing our body of work better and better. These guiding principles, along with our commitment to step up our work in the community, will elevate all of our efforts regionally. These collaborative efforts entrust that our best practices will lead to better outcomes. We are assured that these synergistic principles and practices will continue to evolve with our partnerships as we all move forward in the coordination of our work to end homelessness in the San Diego region.

Tamera Kohler
Chief Executive Officer
There was no Governance Board of Directors Meeting in July to accommodate attendees of the NAEH Conference. The last regular Board of Directors meeting was held on June 20th, and the next regular Board Meeting will be held on August 29. Please see the RTFH Events Calendar to locate the updated dates and times.
Continuum of Care Notice
 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) 
To request funds in the homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) Competition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires each local area's CoC to gather and rate local projects and submit one Consolidated Application through a single Collaborative Applicant each year. In San Diego, RTFH is the HUD designated Collaborative Applicant.
In preparation for the NOFA, HUD and the CoC prepared a Grant Inventory Worksheet (GIW), which is a list of existing project grants eligible for renewal this year. Agencies on the list confirmed their renewal information in April 2019. Being listed on the GIW indicates an agency's intent to be included in the renewal  application process. 

This year's NOFA was released by HUD on July 3rd, 2019. The applicant timeline is the most recent release that has been distributed to the CoC distribution list, as well as posted to our website. Please continue to check our website for updates on the NOFA process.

If you are an agency listed on the GIW, you should also be receiving updates as they are distributed through the CoC email distribution list.

Outreach Policy – Draft Public Comment Period
(6/1 – 8/30)

The RTFH Board of Directors authorized the next steps of coordinating the outreach efforts to address unsheltered homelessness during the May 16th Board Meeting. This step includes the release of draft policy guidance and a public comment period for feedback on the plan. It is the intent of this policy to provide guidance on a shared vision and approach for the region for addressing the needs of unsheltered persons including those residing in homeless encampments. You are encouraged to review the presentation and the draft of the policy that will be presented to the RTFH Board for adoption during the September Board Meeting once it has been finalized. The public comment period has been open for 90 days as of June 1st. and the comment period will conclude on August 30th. 

Updates will be posted on the landing page for the policy on our website here.  

Iain De Jong Visit: Regional Outreach Best Practices and Training 

Iain De Jong, the President and CEO of OrgCode Consulting (an international consulting firm focused on ending homelessness), has visited our community during the week of July 26 to learn about the experiences of our region's unsheltered homeless neighbors and to provide training and discussions on best practices with providers who reach out to these neighbors, along with other stakeholders to engage conversations and strategy to move forward with reducing homelessness in the San Diego region. He has been a policy adviser to various governments and a technical adviser to dozens of homeless shelters and street outreach programs throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. His organization is also the author of the VI-SPDAT, the common assessment tool used by many CoC’s for Coordinated Entry. His recent research has been focused on unsheltered homelessness, so we have been very appreciative of his insight and guidance throughout his stay that will be important for helping to develop strategic planning.

Diversion Training

The RTFH held our third session of Diversion training for the community of providers with returning consultant Ed Boyte of Cleveland Mediation Center during the week of July 29. We would like to thank everyone who participated, and look forward to continuing to train on early intervention strategies throughout the community. 

If you have attended any of the sessions, please feel free to send any comments, questions, or feedback to Kat Durant:


Rapid Re-housing (RRH) Learning Collaborative  
Michelle Valdez, expert consultant on providing coaching and technical assistance, will return to our region during the week of August 12 to continue working with our region's RRH providers and stakeholders to facilitate the launch of the RRH Learning Collaborative team meetings, intended to establish a shared community vision during regularly scheduled Collaborative Team Meetings. The Learning Collaborative will continue to work on best practices for implementation of a flexible, system-wide, client-driven RRH model that will be designed to move participants quickly into housing where they will be able to remain stability housed.

The anticipated timeline is on track as follows:
  • Late Spring/Early Summer 2019: Convene providers/stakeholders & launch Learning Collaborative 
  • Fall 2019: Develop recommendations for a right-sizing system 
  • Winter 2019/2020: TA for implementation of best practices & system improvements
HMIS Highlights

Clarity/HMIS New User Training
The RTFH HMIS Team offers Clarity/HMIS New User Training sessions in-person at the RTFH Office in the United Way Building. If your organization has new staff that need to access HMIS to enter client data, this training session is required before they can be granted a Clarity user license. Sessions for the upcoming month are posted on the RTFH Events Calendar; click on an individual session to review technical requirements for training and register online to attend. HMIS Agency Administrators will be contacted following training sessions to confirm the cost of additional user licenses before trainees are provided a license.

HMIS Focused Trainings
The HMIS team has been working on developing focused training sessions in addition to the regularly offered New User Training sessions that cover specific topics and workflows. 

7/17/2019 Webinar – Running and Utilizing the HUD Annual Performance Report
On July 17, the HMIS team delivered a live webinar, "Running and Utilizing the HUD Annual Performance Report," which covered how to run the HUD Annual Performance Report in Clarity as well as how to read report results in order to troubleshoot data quality issues for selected HMIS programs. This live webinar was open to all users, but essential for programs that are required to submit an APR to their funders. Staff from over 20 different agencies attended the webinar and asked questions about common APR issues. Attendees noted that their understanding and comfort level with running the APR, as well as using the results to troubleshoot data quality issues, improved after attending. 

If you were unable to attend the live webinar but would like to review the topics covered, you can view the recording and slide deck presented. Materials and recordings from this and other past training sessions are available on the HMIS Training and Support page

8/22/2019 Webinar – HMIS Privacy and Security Essentials
The next focused training session, HMIS Privacy and Security Essentials, will be held via webinar on August 22nd, 2019 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. This is a required session for all Clarity users to complete (either by attending live or by viewing the recording afterwards) in order to retain an active Clarity user license. The webinar will include a review of privacy and security requirements for working with HMIS data, a step-by-step breakdown of the 3-Step Privacy Process for working with HMIS data, and instructions on handling data privacy and documenting client wishes regarding data sharing in Clarity.

Learn more about the webinar and register here.

The HMIS team looks forward to offering additional focused sessions in the coming months. Please email us at with any feedback on topics you would like to see covered.

2019 National Conference to End Homelessness
Congressman Mike Levin meets with RTFH and regional providers
The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), a nonpartisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the US, held a National Conference on Ending Homelessness that took place July 22, 23, and 24 in Washington DC. This conference is the nation’s largest convening of service providers, leaders, advocates, and consumers working to end homelessness in the United States.

The RTFH was able to attend sessions on how homelessness intersects with the criminal justice system, along with sessions that focused on developing effective partnerships with homeless providers and health care where they overlap to improve both housing and health outcomes. Other sessions touched on the challenges that communities face to understand and better serve unsheltered homelessness, along with serving aging populations that find themselves facing new challenges that can lead to homelessness.

Workshops also explored the CES processes that have been implemented around the country where knowledge was shared on what communities have learned from evaluations of their systems.  There was also a focus on problem solving techniques that are needed to reconnect people to housing and other necessary resources. Other sessions focused on families and youth experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, veterans, single adults, and other populations.

At the end of the conference, the RTFH with some partnering agencies also participated in the Capital Hill Day to meet with Congressional representatives. They met with our staff and providers to advocate directly for the resources to lead to the reduction of homelessness in the San Diego region. Congressman Mike Levin from the 49th district met with the RTFH and a few of our regional providers in attendance.

The lessons learned at the conference have been fruitful, and we are excited to put this new knowledge to use in San Diego.
Coordinated Entry (CES)
Stella Housing Fair
Housing Fairs are events completed across the country to expedite the leasing of unit vacancies that also generate excitement for the community of participants. On July 9th, the RTFH CES team hosted San Diego's first Housing Fair for Affirmed Housing’s Stella Project.  This permanent supportive housing project is a large lease-up with 62 units of studios and one bedrooms for people experiencing homelessness.  
The Stella Housing Fair was an all-day event held at Father Joe's Villages where 46 clients were assisted through the CES process. Of these clients, 27 of them were able to leave knowing they had completed everything that was needed in order to have their application move through the final approval process.  
This event was a large undertaking, requiring planning and collaboration among 10 partnering agencies totaling over 50 of our providers.  The RTFH and the CES Team would like to extend a great deal of gratitude to everyone who assisted in the smooth facilitation and assistance to their clients attending the event. The RTFH would especially like to thank the core team of agencies in partnership for The Stella: Affirmed Housing Group, Interfaith Community Services, Solari Enterprises, Inc., and the San Diego Housing Commission, and to Father Joe's Villages for their generosity in hosting. Each agency demonstrated a level of collaboration from the beginning that was key in the efficiency of this event, as was the participation of the clients in attendance.
The RTFH is so appreciative of the all of these individuals who were able to make this Housing Fair a success. This event was another shining example of our community coming together to support clients to be able to move into permanent housing. We hope that this is something that can be replicated in the future.
RTFH Staff Welcome
The RTFH would like to welcome our newest staff member, Mayra Valdez, who has joined our team in the role of Program Specialist. Mayra is a San Diego native who works hard to make a difference in the communities she serves. Mayra attended San Diego State University to obtain her Bachelor degree in Sociology, and she began her career in social services at Father Joe’s Villages working as a Case Manager for families in transitional housing, as Supervisor of Case Management, and then as Program Manager of Rapid Rehousing. She assisted families, children, veterans, youth, and individuals to obtain safe and secure housing: just some of her accomplishments that motivate her daily.

Mayra firmly believes that the solution to homelessness is for everyone to have a place to call HOME. We are excited to have her on board with the RTFH to continue working towards our mission to end homelessness in the San Diego region.
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