The San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.