Homeless Issue #96

What has County, City, and Community of non-profits groups been doing  for our homeless population?
It’s no secret that community partners in El Dorado County have struggled with developing a real plan to address the challenges associated with homelessness.  This has resulted in a “crisis management” approach rather than long-term, sustainable solutions…until now.  A few years ago, El Dorado County funded the facilitation of a three-phase process called the Theory of Change to grow a solution from the ground up, and we’ve been hard at work ever since!
For the first time ever, people from a broad spectrum were called to the table…non-profits, the faith community, education, law enforcement, elected representatives, Health and Human Services and the CAO’s office… to think critically about what was required to bring about social change, to establish long-term goals and develop the actions and strategies necessary to implement them.  This was a grassroots, organic process that has taken time to evolve.  The result has been the development of OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS whose goals is to “resolve homelessness effectively for El Dorado County Residents and to 1) Transition those who can into self-sufficiency and 2) Manage chronic homeless effectively for their benefit and the community benefit in El Dorado County.

A strategic board will provide oversight and there will be a “single-point of entry” to homeless programs and services.  This is critically important for several reasons.  First, it will ensure that efforts aren’t being duplicated and will foster a collaborative rather than a competitive environment for non-profits and service providers.  Next, by officially forming a charter that has an entry-point system, we will be able to collect the data on who we are serving, making us much more competitive (and successful) in securing Federal and State funds for homeless prevention and assistance.  Best of all, this means our service providers will have a more robust means of financial support, something that has been critically lacking.

So where are we now?  Our strategic board is in place and we are engaged in the selection of an entity who will function as our single point of entry. We have completed an initial RFI (Request for Information) process, concluding in identification of some critical next steps including refining our requirements for an entry point agency, as well as necessary layers of development within the agency. We have included a chart in order for others to visualize our process.
Wendy Thomas for Opportunity Knocks

Can we get our Organizations out to ALL the people?
I have heard that “We cover the whole County with our services.”
No not true.  You cover only those who know that you are where you are, who have access to transportation to get to where you are, and can read and apprehend the forms you present. These are the people we should get to. I invited all organization to go to the “South County” where many of our “at risk,” homeless, and lowest income persons live.  I was told by one organization that they could only go to places that they are “funded” (paid) to go to.  HMIS information is critical to receiving government funding and gain information on our homeless population.  This is not being done in the “South County.” As far as I know, only “funded” organizations have that ability. JSS is not a “funded” organization. JSS is an all volunteer, non paid, organization.

Veterans of America
and County Health and Human Services
came forward.


Job’s Shelters of the Sierra,
in partnership with

Pioneer Bible Church
 in the “South County”
is bringing representatives of
 Volunteers of American and the
El Dorado County Health & Human Services
to inform South County
 Veterans and all citizens
 of the services available to them.

This effort is being made to be sure the needs of
Veterans and others in rural areas are not overlooked.

FRIDAY JUNE 24; 10:00-12:00 NOON

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