Destination: Home serves as a convener, working with our partners to develop and fund strategies for homelessness reduction, drive outcomes driven housing and services models, and coordinate funding in our community. Some of our work includes:
In 2014 Destination: Home developed a county-wide community plan by convening over 200 stakeholders in a year long planning process. The Community Plan is now the roadmap for how the County will end homelessness. Many cities and organizations have signed on and are using the community plan to help guide programs to end homelessness within their jurisdictions. Our goal is to have the Plan endorsed by all public entities, with the support of the nonprofit and private sectors.
So far, the plan has been endorsed by:
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the Cities of San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Mountain View, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, The Santa Clara Valley Water District, the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara, the Santa Clara County Cities Association, First Five Santa Clara County and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
In Santa Clara County, 7,500 people are without a home on any given night. Of those, 2,500 are considered chronically homeless. The solution is simple: permanent, sustainable housing with resources designed to ensure people stay housed. It’s a model called Housing First.
Housing First is a nationally recognized, evidence based intervention. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Housing First is an approach to ending homelessness that centers on providing people experiencing homelessness with housing as quickly as possible – and then providing services as needed. This approach has the benefit of being consistent with what most people experiencing homelessness want and seek help to achieve. We recognize housing as the primary treatment option for homeless individuals and families.
Housing First programs share critical elements:
- A focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent rental housing as quickly as possible without time limits;
- A variety of services delivered to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis; and
- A standard lease agreement to housing as opposed to mandated therapy or services compliance.
The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program funds two types of permanent housing: permanent supportive housing (PSH) for persons with disabilities and rapid re-housing (RRH).
Permanent supportive housing is permanent housing with indefinite leasing or rental assistance paired with supportive services to assist homeless persons with a disability or families with an adult or child member with a disability achieve housing stability. For long-term stability and quality of life, supportive services can include programs that will increase housing stability, wellness, and promote meaningful daily activities.
Rapid re-housing is an intervention, informed by a Housing First approach that is a critical part of a community’s effective homeless crisis response system. Rapid re-housing rapidly connects families and individuals experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through a tailored package of assistance that may include the use of time-limited financial assistance and targeted supportive services, including paths to employment. Rapid rehousing programs help families and individuals living on the streets or in emergency shelters solve the practical and immediate challenges to obtaining permanent housing while reducing the amount of time they experience homelessness, avoiding a near-term return to homelessness, and linking to community resources that enable them to achieve housing stability in the long-term. Rapid re-housing is an important component of a community’s response to homelessness. A fundamental goal of rapid rehousing is to reduce the amount of time a person is homeless.
Prevention is an effective tool in combating homelessness and may include housing relocation and stabilization services as well as short- and medium-term rental assistance to prevent an individual or family from becoming homeless. Individuals and families at-risk of homelessness receive assistance to maintain their existing housing or transition to new permanent housing.
Housing 1000 was a 3 year campaign to house 1,000 of our community’s most vulnerable chronically homeless men, women and families and was a partner in the national 100,000 Homes campaign.
When Housing 1000 was launched in 2011, there was no new funding beyond the resources already allocated to existing homeless services. Destination: Home served as the backbone organization for this Collective Impact model, bringing together homeless service providers, public funders and strategic partners around a set of common metrics and outcomes. When the campaign ended in 2014, our community had housed 850 homeless men, women, and their families, with approximately 83% remaining stably housed. Simultaneously, over $50M in new funding has been committed, including rapid rehousing funding from the City of San Jose, Housing Choice vouchers from the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara and the creation of a Permanent Supportive Housing Fund in the County of Santa Clara. The County of Santa Clara agreed to adopt the campaign in 2014, giving this Housing First model a permanent home inside the county system, formally adopted as a part of Santa Clara County’s Continuum of Care (CoC).
In 2014, Destination: Home agreed to serve as the local Continuum of Care Board, a designation mandated by federal HEARTH legislation. In this role Destination: Home works with local and federal governments and the homeless service providers who are part of the local Continuum of Care to coordinate approximately $16M in annual HUD funding, set community priorities and goals, and lead our efforts on Coordinated Assessment, Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS), and performance outcomes.