We would like to thank our over 1500 volunteers and the teams of dedicated outreach workers that helped us cover our large region for San Diego’s annual Point-in-Time Count known locally as the WeAllCount. This year with the guidance from our HUD partners, the RTFH implemented a new more precise process of not just simply enumerating people but personally engaging with our homeless neighbors at the location they are experiencing homelessness, documenting their needs and collecting named surveys. This updated methodology and outreach lead engagement was focused on our homeless individuals that spent the night in conditions that are considered unsheltered. These can be park benches, sidewalks, tent and vehicles. This effort involved engaging people in tents and those who are homeless in vehicles this year instead of just counting vehicles and tents. This specific change impacts our count more than any other change in methodology. In the past we counted vehicles and tents and made an assumption that we had 2 people in every car. This year we included in the count the number of people sleeping in vehicles or tents that we engaged or visibly saw to be sure we were counting people and not vehicles or structures. This change in engagement was very different and new to many.
The 2019 Point-in-Count will be the new threshold for San Diego moving forward that we can improve upon with the increased efforts of volunteer teams lead by outreach workers and the introduction of mobile technology to the count. The increased effort of the count will allow the RTFH to build upon this minimum number of people experiencing homeless next year as we continue to engage and count people and not vehicles or structures.
Homelessness is a complicated and complex issue and these efforts to collect information directly from those experiencing homelessness as well as additional data from our Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and the annual Longitudinal System Analysis (LSA) report will provide real actionable information needed to understand how better to set polices, direct funding and inform the public.
Chief Executive Officer
#WeAllCount- More Then Just Numbers
After the night of the WeAllCount we received email for our volunteers thanking us! They wanted to share their experience with the new engaged count methodology and gave suggestions on how to improve the count for next year.
Here are a few of the comments:
"It truly opened my eyes to the lives that are effected by bumps in the road. I was truly moved by this year’s engaging process."
"I - and others - found this to be a very different experience due the personal interactions I had with individuals I found under bushes, in tents along trails and sleeping in their cars in WalMart parking lots. I would suggest this was more of an emotional experience than a very important clerical task of tallying homeless citizens in order to get funding that would translate into services for this ever-increasing population in our country."
"This was my first time volunteering and I was very impressed by the efforts of all the organizers and coordinators. The fact that everyone I came across seemed to care about the process was very inspiring. I also have a deeper understanding of what homelessness looks like and I am motivated to help more often."
During the night of the count a few of the RTFH staff members worked as a team to engage and survey people. While they were out they came across a man living in his car who told them how he had a job but not enough income to afford housing in San Diego. He also shared that he had served in the armed forces. They gave him some guidance and also told him to go to the Veteran’s Affairs office to see if they could offer any help. A few weeks later they received a voicemail from him saying, “I can’t thank you girls enough.” He had been housed!
2019 NHSDC HUD Spring Conference Two of our HMIS team members, Alemayehu Feyissa and Tyler Uhlig, visited Nashville, Tennessee for the National Human Service and Data Consortium conference April 15th-17th. The conference is held twice a year and this Spring's conference was titled "Increasing Capacity and Building Connections – Bridging to the Future". This conference was co-sponsored by HUD and had 3 full days of panels and working groups focused on HMIS, CoC, and Coordinated Entry. Panelists and participants were able to network and share ideas for best practices, strategies for success, and methods for analyzing current performance across a number of different topics. CoCs from around the country were in attendance as well as HUD officials. The RTFH looks forward to utilizing the knowledge and connections gained to further our progress towards our goal to end homelessness.
HMIS/Clarity New User Training
The RTFH HMIS Team offers weekly Clarity/HMIS New User Training sessions in-person at 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 a training. HMIS Agency Administrators are contacted following training sessions to confirm the cost of adding more user licenses before trainees are licensed.
Nyla Vivas and Abrea Ponce, both staff of The Regional Task Force on the Homeless and Chair and Co-Chair of the San Diego Youth Action Board (YAB) were nominated and chosen as co-recipients of an award and a scholarship from the California Coalition for Youth (CCY): Jim Levin Youth Leadership Award and the Oscar Maldonado Youth Scholarship. As awardees, Nyla and Abrea traveled to Sacramento for 2 days (April 24-April 25) to represent San Diego, and the great work they and other youth of San Diego County have been doing to end youth homelessness in the San Diego region.
Jim Levin Youth Leadership Award
The Youth Leadership Award, first presented in 1998, was established to acknowledge and honor a youth’s commitment to better the lives of other young people across diverse communities and cultures. In 2012, the Board of Directors renamed this award the Jim Levine Youth Leadership Award in honor of Jim, who passed away that year. Jim was a long-time board member of the Coalition and was a steadfast advocate for development of youth leadership. Additionally, the Board of Directors has now established a $500 scholarship to be given to the recipient of this award in Jim's name.
This award is for youth 16-24 who:
• are an outstanding leaders and who develops leadership
• possess the ability to motivate and inspire others
• has be an advocate for youth involvement
• possess the ability to work within youth/adult partnerships
Both Nyla and Abrea have worked tirelessly to contribute youth voices related to their lived experiences, as long with their own personal stories, within the many governmental and social services systems in California. Nyla and Abrea, along with many other youth in the community, committed the last 9 months working in partnership with The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to create the Coordinated Community Plan to End Youth Homelessness in the San Diego region.
They have displayed phenomenal leadership skills, and have worked side-by-side with youth, RTFH stakeholders, governmental and non-profit providers.
We at RTFH are ecstatic about the opportunity from the California Coalition for Youth that has been provided for Nyla and Abrea as youth leaders and advance their leadership skills and abilities. We feel that this opportunity will contribute to helping other youth leaders in order to better our community to end youth homelessness!
Update on the HEAP
As a reminder we received 51 applications from 41 agencies requesting over $63 million dollars of which $6.5 was for capital improvements (major and minor). We have approximately $16.5 million to distribute.
HEAP Applications have completed threshold review. All reviewers have been vetted for conflict with the applicant and any sub-recipients RTFH staff is finalizing the assignments and the reviewers have begun reviewing and scoring applications.
Update on the YHDP
The YHDP RFP has been released. As with HEAP, RTFH has created a landing page for the YHDP RFP process. All potential applicants are encouraged to review the webpage, read the Community Coordinating Plan and the RFP guidelines. All the HUD TA office hours have been completed and you can view the recordings from these office hours on the YHDP webpage. RTFH is offering each applicant a technical assistance opportunity to speak directly with RTFH staff regarding the proposed project partnership in order to determine if the project is designed as a Sub-recipient relationship or as a Contractor/MOA Service Partnership relationship. This technical assistance opportunity must be completed no later than May 6, 2019. Please see the updated RFP Guidelines for further information and clarification about RTFH’s intent regarding collaboration and partnership as well as instructions on scheduling the technical assistance opportunity with RTFH staff.
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is currently seeking applicants for a Program Specialist position to join the RTFH team. Please see this document for more detailed information on the job description and how to apply.
Future Dates for Diversion Training
The RTFH will be continuing with the Diversion Training's in May. The Cleveland Mediation Center will be back from May 20-24th with two more sets of Diversion Training and one day of Train the Trainer. This training will be for anyone that will be working with people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness to help empower them to to begin regaining control over their situation and their lives. Additionally, we will be setting up a Diversion 101 class at the end of May. The Diversion 101 class will be for front line staff that who are not doing Diversion as their key role but want to know what diversion is and how it fits into their organization.
Coordinated Entry System Catch Up
The Coordinated Entry team is excited to announce that over 250 HMIS users now have access to CES in Clarity! To ensure those who have access stay up-to-date with how Coordinated Entry interacts with their day-to-day operations, the CES team is dedicated to providing trainings and assistance to providers. Stay tuned for new trainings on the process and if you have any questions, please contact the CES team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any HMIS users still needing access to CES in Clarity, please see the RTFH Events Calendar to sign up for a CES training that takes place right after the HMIS New User training.