The Task Force Times

February 2019 Edition

CEO Corner
   The San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless is committed to empowering our community with proven and effective best practices that have shown results to prevent and alleviate homelessness. As part of that commitment we are bringing a national expert on diversion strategies to San Diego. Ed Boyte is a nationally recognized expert in employing strong mediation and conflict resolution practices to help anyone who might be facing a homeless crisis to problem solve and potentially eliminate a stay in shelters or on the street. These effective tactics can divert someone away from a shelter stay or night in their vehicle to a housed situation instead, hence the name of this strategy: diversion. Diversion efforts still connect people to resources and can help them avoid the trauma of becoming homeless. The RTFH’s commitment is twofold. We have contracted to have direct training by Ed Boyte through the Cleveland Mediation Center (CMC) and to have continuous training and support over the next year through the CMC. This includes a train-the-trainer model to ensure we have consistent implementation and training on an ongoing basis. This first interactive training will be the week of March 4th-8th and has been organized by invitation only to get a diverse cross section of providers regionally and across our various subpopulations. This will include staff from shelters, outreach teams, day centers, and health centers as well as the San Diego Housing Commission and the County of San Diego. The diversion approach is meant to be personalized to the strengths, skills, and barriers that are unique to each client and to empower them to make safe and appropriate decisions for their housing. Diversion can mean something different for every client based on their skills and barriers. A client can often get a second chance, with a little more support, to stay in housing. For providers and our system as a whole, diversion means more room for other, higher-need clients in their shelter and greater resources for those individuals. We look forward to implementing the best practices around diversion and its impact on ending homelessness. 
Tamara Kohler
Chief Executive Officer
HMIS Highlights
   Since we launched on the new HMIS software, Clarity, a lot has happened in the world of HMIS and more is still to come with San Diego’s homeless database systems.

Post-launch we’ve trained over 100 additional users in the basic HMIS workflow and had nearly 200 users attend a supplementary webinar to review some of the basics of how Clarity functions. Training resumed on February 27th for basic HMIS user training and in-person training sessions will continue on a weekly basis - check the RTFH Events Calendar for specific training dates/times.

Another milestone will be met as we look forward to announcing the launch of San Diego’s Comparable Database – a fully secure and separate database which is available for Victim Service Provider (Domestic Violence) agencies and programs to use as needed. During February the RTFH team has been hard at work transferring all of the data from the old database to the new Comparable Database also hosted on Clarity.  The Comparable Database meets all HUD requirements for data collection and reporting and the advantage of it being hosted on the Clarity platform is that all previous training applies to this database as well.

We have seen great success with Clarity and expect that trend to continue as we continue forward on the new platform. To support that continued success in the coming months we are resuming with our user group meetings and will also be announcing a Clarity Agency Managers training to go over the details of reporting and the features specific to managers.

Please send any questions regarding HMIS to and our team will be happy to assist you.
Continuum of Care Notice
Youth Homeless Demonstration Program (YHDP) Update

   The San Diego Youth Action Board and the Operations Team have been working hard to complete the HUD Youth Demonstration Grant Coordinated Community Plan to End Youth Homelessness in partnership with HUD and HUD Technical Assistance Providers. The final draft of the plan will be submitted to HUD no later than the second week of March, with approval of the plan by HUD in April.

One of our youth leaders and co-chair of our Youth Action Board (YAB) Abrea Ponce has dedicated her time and efforts to ending youth homelessness in the San Diego region. For the last 7 months Abrea has worked tirelessly on our Youth Homeless Demonstration Program funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Since Abrea began at the Task Force she has taken initiative and ownership of the agency's mission, and also become Co-Chair of the Youth Action Board of the Continuum of Care, which is dedicated to ending youth homelessness.

Abrea recently spoke about youth homelessness at a national community event, titled “The State of the Movement” with A Way Home America. As a panel speaker Abrea bravely shared about challenges youth face while attempting to navigate the homelessness system. Abrea has also been a champion in developing a regional Coordinated Community Plan (CCP) to End Youth Homelessness in San Diego County in partnership with HUD. Abrea ensured that the HUD-CCP was youth led, vetted and had a consistent youth voice throughout the decision-making process. Abrea is a youth leader in our community and she has “made it a priority to see this through until systems change, youth are housed first, and progression is made in the youth’s lives”.

NAEH 2019 Conference
   The RTFH team was excited to attend the National Alliance to End Homeless Conference last week. The conference focused on Solutions for Individual Homeless Adults and was two day event filled with break out sessions where we learned what our peers across the nation are practicing to promote better outcomes for Individual Homeless Adults that include understanding and addressing unsheltered homelessness, designing an efficient and effective crisis response, increasing permanent housing interventions and affordable housing options for individual adults and implementing a community-wide performance- based systemic response to homelessness. 

Coordinated Entry System Catch Up
   In the beginning of January, the CES team launched live case conferencing where housing resource providers and client advocates can come together to find the right size housing resources for our clients. From the meetings we have increased our level of collaborator between client advocates and housing providers and started connecting our clients with housing resources .  We have completed 9 training for the new CES workflow in HMIS and will provide more sessions in the coming weeks as our CES system opens on March 4th for licensed users.  Please check our calendar for upcoming dates for additional training. The CES team is continuing to schedule and meet with all Access points across the region to help solidify and clarify what it means to be an Access point in our community.
Change to RTFH Office Schedule
   To better support the community and coordinate with local partners, RTFH will be changing its flexible schedule so that the entire RTHF office is closed on the same Friday every other week and so that this schedule will align with the Friday's that the San Diego Housing Commission is closed. Starting on Friday, March 15th RTFH's entire office will be closed every other Friday. In advance of this change RTFH will be adding the schedule for office closures to its Events Calendar.
Employee Spotlight
   We are proud of the work that our staff member, Victoria Dumon, who as part of her graduate program at SDSU's School of Social Work, has spent several days on predawn ride-alongs checking on homeless individuals on and near by the SDSU campus. The SDSU NewsCenter wrote an article about how they have been collaborating with the County of San Diego to help these homeless individuals. You can view the full article "Policing With Heart" here.
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