Standards, Learning, and Training

The San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness is committed to empowering our community with proven and effective best practices that have shown results to prevent and alleviate homelessness.

The RTFH continues to lay the developmental groundwork that we have set out to accomplish in establishing more formalized best practices for our region. These guiding principles, along with our commitment to step up our work in the community, will elevate all of our efforts regionally. These collaborative efforts entrust that our best practices will lead to better  outcomes. We are assured that these synergistic principles and practices will continue to evolve with our partnerships as we all move forward in the coordination of our work to end homelessness in the San Diego region.

Keep up with our events through the RTFH Calendar.


HUD requires every CoC to have adopted written standards that govern the provision of CoC and ESG
funded programs. This includes standards for homelessness prevention, street outreach, emergency
shelter, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing programs. The San
Diego CoC Community Standards sets minimum system and project level expectations for CoC and ESG
programs and encourages all programs regardless of funding source to adopt and align with the
standards. The standards outline the use of best practice approaches including Housing First and
Trauma-Informed Care, as well as standards for addressing racial disparities, incorporating
persons with lived experience, and utilizing the Homeless Management Information System and the
Coordinated Entry System.

Click here for the San Diego CoC Community Standards

Click here for the Community Outreach Standards

Click here for the Policy Guidelines for Regional Response for Addressing Unsheltered Homeless Encampments throughout San Diego County.

Learning Collaboratives

A Learning Collaborative is a forum for service providers to develop and implement changes to how they operate, as well as overall system design changes, while receiving support from their peers and other experts in the work. Unlike individual or classroom style of learning, a learning collaborative is a form of peer learning.

Rapid Re-Housing

The RTFH has brought in Michelle Valdez, a consultant with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and governmental fields including homelessness, violence against women and children, and system change. As a community working together to end homelessness we have a few core program models that provide housing assistance. One of the leading HUD program models is Rapid Rehousing which our region receives funding from both the Continuum of Care (CoC) and the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) that support this housing solution. Our goal is to create an opportunity to collectively work together and learn from each other’s experience and capitalize on each other’s resources and skills while we design and implement a flexible, client-driven RRH model. The Learning Collaborative will continue to work on best practices for implementation of a RRH model that will be designed to move participants quickly into housing where they will be able to remain stability housed.

 Rapid Rehousing System-Wide Operating Standards of Practice can be found by clicking here


CoC 101/201 Webinars

The videos in this webinar series were recorded during the 2021 CoC monthly membership meetings and were presented by Pat Leslie, RTFH NOFO consultant. This series is intended to provide an overview of the CoC and its roles and responsibilities. They include an introduction to the Five HUD On-Line Information Systems, the HUD CoC Funding Cycle, Data Gathering and Recording, and an in-depth understanding of the e-SNAPS system. 


Outreach Training Webinars

We have been leading in this work: convening public comment on outreach, outreach shadowing, and solution-based outreach training with talented and highly trained consultant assistance. Iain De Jong, the President and CEO of OrgCode Consulting (an international consulting firm focused on ending homelessness), has visited our community to learn about the experiences of our region’s unsheltered homeless neighbors and to provide training and discussions on best practices with providers who reach out to these neighbors, along with other stakeholders to engage conversations and strategy to move forward with reducing homelessness in the San Diego region. He has been a policy adviser to various governments and a technical adviser to dozens of homeless shelters and street outreach programs throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. His organization is also the author of the VI-SPDAT, the common assessment tool used by many CoC’s for Coordinated Entry. His recent research has been focused on unsheltered homelessness, so we have been very appreciative of his insight and guidance throughout his stay that will be important for helping to develop strategic planning.

A finalized version of the San Diego CoC Street Outreach Standards can be found by clicking here.

Homeless Outreach Training Requirements  click here

Motivational Interviewing Training

 As RTFH continues to promote the implementation of the Homeless Outreach Standards,  training resources are being identified within the Standards for homeless outreach workers.  These training resources are available for staff who may not have access to them within their organizations.  We are pleased to announce trainings that are now available through UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs on Motivational Interviewing.  Attendance is limited for each training scheduled for 10/12 and 11/09, so please register early.  There will be additional training dates made available in early 2022. Please click here for more information and registration instructions .



We have contracted with Ed Boyte and colleagues from the Cleveland Medication Center (CMC) to provide direct training by on Diversion strategies to San Diego. Ed Boyte is a nationally recognized expert in employing strong mediation and conflict resolution practices to help anyone who might be facing a homeless crisis to problem solve to potentially eliminate a stay in shelters or on the street. These effective tactics can divert someone away from a shelter stay or night in their vehicle to a housed situation instead, hence the name of this strategy: Diversion. Diversion efforts still connect people to resources and can help them avoid the trauma of becoming homeless.  His sessions of training include a train-the-trainer model to ensure we have consistent implementation and training on an ongoing basis across the region. Those trained include the staff from shelters, outreach teams, day centers, health center and service providers as well as San Diego Housing Commission and the County of San Diego. The Diversion approach is meant to be personalized to the strengths, skills, and barriers that are unique to each client and to empower them to make safe and appropriate decisions for their housing. Diversion can mean something different for every client based on their skills and barriers. A client can often get a second chance, with a little more support, to stay in housing. For providers and our system as a whole, Diversion means more room for other, higher-need clients in their shelter and greater resources for those individuals. We look forward to implementing the best practices around Diversion and its impact on ending homelessness.

Connecting San Diego’s Criminal Legal and Homeless Systems: Educational Workshops for Homeless Service Providers

It has repeatedly been demonstrated and borne out through data that the prevalence of people involved in the justice system and experiencing homelessness is significant.  RTFH is working with Homebase, a technical assistance provider made available through HUD, to improve the local connection between the justice and homeless services sectors.  As part of that effort, we will be hosting three educational workshops over the next three months for homeless service providers to understand more about working with people who are involved in the criminal legal system. You will learn overall best practices paired with a local perspective at each workshop. Any and all homeless service providers, outreach workers, and ancillary service providers are welcome to attend. 

The first workshop focused on “Housing First at the Intersection of the Criminal Legal System” and was on Aug. 26 from 1:00-2:30pm.

The second workshop focused on “Legal System Lingo” and was held on Sept. 20, from 9:00-11:00am.

The third and final workshop focused on “Working with Clients Impacted by Custodial Trauma”, and was held on Oct. 27, 2021 from 10:00 am to 12:00pm.

Shared Housing

Shared housing, defined as two or more people who choose to live together in permanent housing and share housing costs, is very common in San Diego.  It is estimated that nearly 40% of adults in San Diego County live with roommates given our high cost rental market.  When it comes to addressing homelessness, San Diego needs to get creative and explore all housing options, and the reality is that shared housing must be a tool in our toolbox to assist individuals experiencing homelessness get into permanent housing.  The obvious benefit of sharing housing is that it makes housing more affordable but the model has also demonstrated positive outcomes with decreasing loneliness and isolation and building natural support systems. 

San Diego is seeking to implement shared housing practices within the homeless crisis response system.  Based on learnings from across the country, core components of effective shared housing system include:

  • Effective engagement and messaging of shared housing to individuals experiencing homelessness as a viable housing option, even if it’s an initial housing placement on the journey to a longer-term goal (see San Diego System Guide/Tool below).
  • A system level roommate matching practice that keeps housing choice and roommate selection at the center.
  • Effective engagement and messaging to landlords on shared housing and housing supports that can mediate issues between tenants and landlords (see San Diego System Guide/Tool below).
  • Person-centered housing stability services that can include conflict mediation supports if challenges arise between tenants.

The RTFH is excited to support efforts with community partners to build a shared housing system in San Diego.  The RTFH’s Shared Housing white paper that can serve as a foundation for our local understanding of what shared housing is and further explain key components. 

The RTFH, along with community partners, created the following shared housing system level guides/tools for partners to use:

National Shared Housing Resources:

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If you need immediate assistance, please visit this website or call 2-1-1 for information on resources and services near you.

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