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The Task Force Times

March 2020 Edition

CEO Corner
This year has kicked off with optimism and inspiration as several of our key initiatives have already come to fruition. We have rounded out our leadership team with talented, experienced and visionary individuals. We continue to work with Iain DeJong of OrgCode and his engagement with outreach teams across the San Diego region and are continuing our Communities of Practice around Diversion and Rapid Rehousing. These provide ongoing training and technical assistance with our partnering agencies with the peer-to-peer learning about proven best practices and techniques that have been used across the country. 

The annual Homeless Point-in-Time Count, “WeAllCount” was conducted at the end of January using new mobile technology and was a success with tremendous support with over 1,700 volunteers and outreach coordinators. A full week was dedicated to the important Youth count.

Greg Anglea, one of our board members, and I were invited to testify before Congress on behalf of homeless veterans in San Diego at the Oversight Hearing Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: “Making HUD-VASH Work for All Veteran Communities”. 

We participated on a panel at the Nan McKay Annual Housing Conference, a learning opportunity for leaders and influencers who want to better understand and advance solutions to address the housing affordability crisis. We also attended the NAEH 2020 Solutions for Individual Homeless Adults National Conference. This conference brought together stakeholders from across all sectors to examine what we know about people who are homeless without their families, and to discover new ways to help end their homelessness.

With our significant role as a funder through the Homelessness Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and the Youth Housing Demonstration Program (YHDP) we have aimed to be good stewards and allocated these much-needed funds to many organizations that work tirelessly to provide services, shelter, housing and assistance to those experiencing homelessness.   

March will see regional community engagement with Focus Strategies around the regional community plan to address homelessness. Watch for emails and updates on locations and times across the region. We are committed to fulfilling our mission and vision to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-reccurring in San Diego County. 

Sincerely,



Tamera Kohler
Chief Executive Officer
The RTFH Board of Directors
The regular February Board meeting was held on February 27th. A new member was elected to fill the recently vacated Board Flexible Seat. We are pleased to introduce the new member of the Board to you:
Jo Barrett - Flexible Seat
With lived homeless experience, Jo has a BS in Business Management, a degree from UCSD in Law - Paralegal Studies and has recently completed the Boards and Commissions Leadership Training through Mid-City Community Advocacy Network. As an advocate, Jo is committed to ending homelessness in San Diego and is dedicated to elevating the voices of those excluded from the decision making processes. Her vision is to be a part of the solution in moving agendas forward. Jo has demonstrated strong leadership skills and a deep commitment to ending the housing crisis, eliminating homelessness and building power for low-income and underserved communities. Jo has shared her story in major platforms, before news media, county board of supervisors and city council rules committee in support of a local bond measure for affordable housing. She is working to create the systemic changes needed to end homelessness and bring about positive change in policies and programs on the local, state and federal levels.

The next regular Board meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday, April 6th. Please see the RTFH Events Calendar to locate updated dates, times, and locations.
In College and Homeless
At community colleges, many students are spending nights on friends’ couches or sleeping in cars. Homelessness among American college students has become an increasingly visible problem, with those who attend community colleges hit the hardest. Seventeen percent of community college students experienced homelessness in the last year, according to a 2019 survey of close to 167,000 college students by The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. And half reported housing insecurity, paying only part of their rent, skimping on utility bills, or sleeping on friends’ couches and sometimes in their cars.

Advocates are pushing for solutions, including safer places to park overnight. Read the full New York Times article here to learn about those who are affected and how colleges and advocates are effecting change.
Congressional Oversight Hearing Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
On January 14th, Tamera Kohler and Greg Anglea testified in front of Congress on behalf of homeless veterans in San Diego at the Oversight Hearing Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: “Making HUD-VASH Work for All Veteran Communities”. The hearing focused on whether veterans around the country have equitable access to the housing resources and the wraparound services provided by HUD-VASH, examined access to HUD-VASH in urban, suburban, rural and tribal communities, and worked to determine what barriers exist in delivering resources to communities of all sizes.

Congressman Mike Levin (D) CA stated: “One of our subcommittee’s goals is to end the veteran’s homelessness epidemic plaguing our country. One homeless veteran is one too many.”

Tamera presented both challenges and priority recommendations for this issue: “One of the most impactful and successful coordination efforts around ending homelessness is the partnership between the HUD and the VA with VASH vouchers but in our region we are experiencing some challenges. One is insufficient referrals to our housing authorities to fully utilize their VASH vouchers, and two, the limited eligibility requirements which leave many of our homeless veterans underserved and without appropriate housing resources. The Housing Commission has been working with our VA officials and have come up with these priorities: • Reducing the barriers to expanding VASH eligibility. • Eliminating the time-served requirements, including the veteran discharge under conditions other than honorable. • Eliminating the VA healthcare eligibility requirements. • Ensuring that we have the resources needed to maximize our utilization of VASH. • Using the expertise of our Housing Authorities who are skilled at leasing up their VASH vouchers.”

Click here to watch the Recorded Session
RTFH Regional Unsheltered Policy Guidelines Adopted
 
Policy Guidelines for Regional Response for Addressing Unsheltered Homelessness and Encampments Throughout San Diego County were adopted on January 16th. The intent of the Policy Guidelines is to provide overall guidance on a shared vision and approach for San Diego County, for addressing the needs of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, including those living in vehicles and those residing in encampments.

The guidelines outlined in this document serve to guide all necessary stakeholders across the region - including the County of San Diego and affected departments, local municipalities and respective departments, other local government agencies that interact with unsheltered individuals such as transportation entities, service providers, faith-based organizations and public and private funders.

Read the full document here.
Flexible Housing Pool


RTFH and community partners (Partnering Agencies) have issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to solicit proposals for a Contract with one or more organizations that can provide an array of services and activities that collectively perform the function of regional housing coordination and/or provide a housing location technology platform through use of a Flexible Housing Pool (FHP). Functions of regional housing coordination include increasing the efficiency of housing identification and placement, centralizing housing coordination regionally to one entity, applying service delivery best practices such as Housing First and aligning coordination efforts between available housing units and service providers.

Partnering Agencies seek an organization, or organizations, that can perform a range of housing-related functions and has the demonstrated ability to collaborate with support service providers, property owners and public agencies.

This is a pioneering approach to supportive housing that: requires a systemic approach with collective impact to achieve scale and recognizes that current sources of rental subsidies are inadequate to meet the need.

Responses to the RFP are due no later than March 16, 2020.

CoC Competition 2019 - Round 1 Results
 
Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY 2019, the San Diego Continuum of Care (CoC) applied for, and was awarded $21.3m for 43 renewal projects, one planning project and five new projects. The funding will support more than 2,100 beds for individuals experiencing homelessness and necessary infrastructure such as the HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) and the coordinated entry system, including a new coordinated entry system for domestic violence. Click here for detailed information.

If you have any questions, please feel to reach out to Deme Hill, Continuum of Care Lead at Deme.Hill@rtfhsd.org or Pat Leslie, Consultant at Pleslie@pointloma.edu
San Diego Youth Action Board (YAB) 
Trauma Informed Care: Code of Conduct/Train the Trainer Model

The San Diego Youth Action Board (YAB) worked in partnership with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) to create the Trauma Informed Care (TIC): Code of Conduct. After creating this document, the group planned how to implement this into agencies and organizations across the region. In doing so, the YAB came up with the idea of hosting a training that young people with lived experience could give to providers across the region. 

The YAB held four focus groups made up of youth from various youth-dedicated organizations: the SDYS, YMCA, HomeStart and YouthWill. They developed a potential curriculum for the Train the Trainer (TOT) Model. During this process, the YAB pulled information from some of the organization's TIC proprietary and basic 101 training sessions to create their own training curriculum. The youth also learned about Trauma Informed Care and the many different forms of trauma that exist.

YAB built relationships with Phenomenal Families and the ACE’s Connection, with the goal of partnering with the youth from these organizations to move forward with the TOT Model. Ultimately, the goal of the Code of Conduct and the TOT Model is for all youth-dedicated providers and agencies across the region to be trained specifically by youth on TIC and the Code of Conduct.
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.

WeAllCount: Annual Homelessness
Point in Time Count 2020

The RTFH staff, along with 1,782 volunteers and outreach coordinators, performed the 2020 Point in Time count on January 23rd. This annual count is driven by our community of volunteers to participate in engaging our homeless population. This is a federally-mandated undertaking around the nation every two years; however, San Diego conducts our count every year to give our homeless neighbors a voice and to better understand the scope of their needs to address their homelessness. This year, the successful use of a mobile app powered by SimtechSolutions was implemented which helped to streamline and improve the efficiency of this work.

We wish to recognize and send a huge
Thank You to the community of volunteers and outreach coordinators who made the Count possible – you are appreciated beyond measure! We also thank the RTFH staff who organized this effort: JennaMarie Glenna, our Community Outreach Coordinator and Abrea Ponce, our Project Coordinator - we could not have done this without your hard work and dedication!
CES Update
San Ysidro Senior Village Leasing Fair
On February 12th, RTFH hosted its second Housing Fair for the permanent supportive housing project, the San Ysidro Senior Village (SYSV). Housing fairs are a best practice held across the country to expedite the connection of potentially eligible applicants experiencing homelessness to available housing resources. We brought together key stakeholders to assist in helping 31 candidates to apply for SYSV housing. 

Candidates were identified from our community's By Name List with a focus on seniors with special health needs experiencing homelessness. SYSV is a 100% affordable, permanent supportive housing/special needs residential development comprised of one 3-story building. A special thank you goes out to our partners: the San Diego Housing Commission, Father Joe's Villages, San Ysidro Health, San Diego PACE and Casa Familiar for their strong collaboration and support to make this event a success!

 

The San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network
The United Way of San Diego County officially launched the San Diego Homelessness Volunteer Network (SDHVN) at https://volunteer.uwsd.org/sdhvn. This portal provides an easy, user-friendly way to learn about available volunteer opportunities and to submit your interest for the volunteer roles that you would like to apply for. We welcome you to visit the website and become a part of the volunteer community!

National Alliance to End Homelessness National Conference
We are inspired by our peers at the National Alliance to End Homelessness 2020 conference and excited to share all we’ve learned with our community! The NAEH 2020 Solutions for Individual Homeless Adults: A National Conference, was held February 19-21 in Oakland. The conference brought together stakeholders from across all sectors to examine what we know about people who are homeless without their families, and to discover new ways to help end their homelessness. The largest group of people experiencing homelessness is individuals living on their own. Yet, except for smaller subgroups such as veterans and people who are disabled, they are rarely prioritized and seldom receive housing assistance. This conference explored emerging research, innovative strategies, and proven best practices to address homelessness among this key population. In addition to elevating and articulating a clear strategy for this group, the conference explored solutions for important subpopulations, including young adults, veterans, and those experiencing chronic homelessness.
 

The Nan McKay Housing Conference (NMA)
The NMA Housing Conference was held February 13-14 in San Diego, featuring some of the industry’s leading experts in affordable housing.

A panel including Azucena Valladolid, Troy Boyle, and Tamera Kohler presented the session: “Addressing Homelessness through Supportive Housing” on February 13th. With record rates of homelessness and limited funding, tackling homelessness can be a challenging goal for many agencies. This session demonstrated how Supportive Housing under a Housing First approach can be a successful model for addressing homelessness. The panel also discussed the San Diego Housing Commission’s supportive housing programs, partnerships with community organizations, and supportive services that have made this program successful in reducing homelessness.
Welcome New RTFH Staff!
We are pleased to introduce our new Grants and Contracts Manager, Heidi Kone.
Heidi comes to RTFH with over 20 years of business management experience that includes both for profit and nonprofit. For the last 10 years she has primarily managed grant and compliance departments for nonprofit agencies in San Diego County, including North County Health Services, Meals on Wheels San Diego County and most recently Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Prior to working in grants and compliance, she worked directly with refugee women and children resettling in San Diego County through the International Rescue Committee in City Heights. Heidi was so impacted by her experience at IRC, she decided to permanently leave her corporate career and begin a new career in the nonprofit space. 

Heidi brings with her significant experience in strategic planning, program and resource development, technical writing, and project and team management.  Heidi’s approach includes staying abreast of best practices, managing all relationships with sincerity and diplomacy, taking initiative, being inclusive, and managing heavy workloads through streamlining, organization and structure. Heidi has lived in San Diego since 2000 with her husband Derek, her son Aidan and her dog Angus. She loves hiking, being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her family.
 
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