The Task Force Times

October 2018 Edition

CEO Corner

A Change in Leadership

     As many of you have heard, Gordon Walker is now on a leave of absence to assist in the opening of a new temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy. We wish him safe travels and success in this endeavor. As the RTFH continues to move forward and evolve with the numerous changes happening over the coming months, I have been asked to step in as the Acting Chief Executive Officer and will continue to oversee these operational changes and I am excited to move the work forward.

     While I served as the Chief Operating Officer, I have overseen many of the changes that our agency is currently undergoing. I have full confidence in our staff to successfully execute these changes as I transition into the role as the CEO and take on these new responsibilities. These changes include the RTFH completing the transition to our new HMIS system, executing San Diego’s annual Point-in-Time Count with a new and engaged person-centered methodology, completing the application process and distribution of state HEAP grant funding, and finalizing our youth community plan to submit to HUD as part of the $7.8M Youth Homelessness Demonstration Grant. You can find more details on these efforts in this month’s newsletter.

     As you can see, we have a significant amount of important projects going forward. It is my commitment to continue pushing the RTFH to be the homeless policy expert and lead coordinator for the introduction of new models and implementation of best practices for the San Diego Region.


Tamara Kohler
Acting Chief Executive Officer
HMIS Highlights

Progress on updating our HMIS
     We are ecstatic to report that efforts to update our HMIS from the Servicepoint system to the new, more intuitive Bitfocus Clarity system is going according to the timeline we released last month. We anticipate the Bitfocus Clarity system will "go live" by December of this year, running concurrently with our old Servicepoint system for two months, with access to Servicepoint being limited beginning in February. The systems will run concurrently to aid in the ongoing data migration that will occur in phases. Additionally, some programs will still need to run reports off of Servicepoint and we want to accommodate these needs. 

     We have heard the many community concerns regarding what implementing a new HMIS will entail. The RTFH will be increasing on-site project monitoring in order to provide technical assistance with any difficulties your agency may have with the Bitfocus Clarity system. This will entail the hiring of additional staff who will be responsible for visiting all projects at least once a year. The RTFH also intends on providing more HMIS training for all service providers. These trainins will be coordinated for both in-person and online for new users. Our overall onboarding into HMIS for new projects will be strengthened to accommodate our new HMIS. 

.     Looking to the future, we intend on implementing a new weekly HMIS training plan by July of 2019. This will require the hiring of two additional staffers for site monitoring and to provide improved data analysis. As we move through 2019 it is our goal to continue cleaning and migrating data into our new system. We are also committed to strengthening privacy protections with creation of a separate database for domestic violence victims.  If there are any questions about the information above, please feel free to reach out to us at 

Continuum of Care Notice
     Building Our Youth Team
     The RTFH is excited to welcome two new staff members to our team to support our ongoing efforts to end youth homelessness. These new staff members are here to assist with the regional plan to implement and allocate the recently funded HUD Youth Demonstration Grant funds. This is the first time the region has received these funds. With the support of our youth staff, a careful consideration and fair process will be ensured for our homeless youth service providers seeking to apply for these funds. While considering how to best allocate these funds, we are ensuring that homeless youth are a part of the process and are fairly represented, funded, and engaged - this is crucial for the success of this grant. 

     Aubrea Ponce has joined our team as a LISC AmeriCorps member for the next ten months. Her position will assist in assessing current homeless youth providers' services and their needs, assess the current gaps in youth funding, and will help build capacity for serving homeless youth in our region. Aubrea brings an invaluable perspective as a formerly homeless youth and parent, she will be assessing the needs of homeless youth throughout the San Diego region and analyzing the needs of youth in the areas of housing and employment, and we are incredibly lucky to have her contributing to our team.

     Nyla Vivas has been spearheading our Youth Advisord Board as the organizer of this group, collecting information, taking minutes, and synthesizing what current youth share in regards to what will best aid lift them out of homelessness. With her lived experience, she is serving as a strong advocate for what homeless youth are lacking and what can be changed to reach as many youth in need as possible. Welcome to the RTFH Nyla!

Listening and Learning Tours Wrapping Up

     The CoC Listening and Learning tours will be completing by the end of the year with CoC funded agencies and RTFH members. If you have not met with our CoC team you will be hearing from them to schedule a tour by the end of the year so that they can begin the program monitoring  for 2019. The RTFH hopes that the monitoring oversight will be a productive community force to facilitate communication, collaboration, and improvement throughout the continuum. 

An Update to Our Methodology
     There is a lot of excitement at the RTFH to begin working with you all on the upcoming 2019 WeAllCount. Since last year's count, we have had an environmental scan from HUD on San Diego's current homelessness climate. Part of that scan entailed a review of our Point-in-Time Count methodology and the ways we execute the count. HUD was highly impressed by the number of volunteers we are able to commit to this effort annually who are willing to come out and count on an early morning in January. They were also impressed by how much geographic area we are able to cover in a 3 hour period throughout our large County.  

     HUD has made the recommendation that we do a more "engaged count" this year so that we can collect even more comprehensive data on the problems San Diegan homeless face daily, in addition to gaining better demographics on who our homeless are. The new plan for this years count will consist of doing surveying as we encounter people on the streets during the count. The survey will be a shortened version of the survey historically used. We will still utilize teams of volunteers similar to how the count has been conducted in previous years, but they will be headed by a Homeless Outreach Worker who works with homeless individuals in that part of the County. 

     We will also be eliminating counts conducted in census tracts where we have no found unsheltered  individuals in the past two years so that we can better concentrate our efforts in areas with a high number of unsheltered folks. This will be in mostly rural and suburban areas where we have historically found no one who is unsheltered. 

     The Time and date that the count will take place will also be changing and expanding. We will update you as soon as this is finalized. We thank you all for your pateince as we continue to map and plan our engaged count!
Coordinated Entry System Catch Up

Welcome our New Matcher!
     Please help us welcome our new CES Matcher, Cristian Deleon. Cristian is a recent graduate from UCSD where he earned a BS in Math and Economics. He is dedicated to making a difference in his community and will use his skills to ensure that available housing resource are matched to appropriate homeless clients as quickly and efficiently as possible. The RTFH looks forward to working with Cristian's as he begins his career in helping those experiencing homelessness. 
     Incorporating Diversion & Prevention
     Diversion & Prevention methods of intervention prevents future cases of homelessness for people by helping them to identify alternative solutions to their housing crisis that are outside of the shelter and homeless services system. The main difference between diversion services and other housing-focused interventions is the point at which intervention occurs. Diversion services are focused on households requesting entry into shelter or housing, but have not yet accessed homelessness services. 

     Ed Boyte, formerly of the Cleveland Mediation Center, will be coming to San Diego to lead in the training of our region on the best practices for implementing diversion & prevention into our supportive services programs. Ed Boyte is one of the foremost national experts on providing diversion training, and we are excited to leverage his expertise to enhance our Coordinated Entry System in San Diego.  
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4699 Murphy Canyon Road
San DiegoCA 92123

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