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Adult Homeless Services: Information for city residents, businesses, and people experiencing homelessness

Background

In October 2017, the City of Boulder implemented the first phase of a new adult homeless services system to better address needs of Bulder residents experiencing homelessness.

The City of Boulder, Boulder County and the City of Longmont are working in a partnership, Homeless Solutions for Boulder County, to provide comprehensive homeless services that focus on housing and service solutions county-wide. By working with our community partners, we are focused on a path forward out of homelessness Boulder residents seeking services.

This new system takes a strategic approach including individual case management, coordinated services across organizations and a data-driven focus on what works to serve our residents in need. As a result, nearly 400 people in Boulder County successfully exited the homeless system during the first year of operation. This is a big step in the right direction.

Coordinated Entry is the gateway to all adult homeless services in the county. At Coordinated Entry, people meet with a staff member for a short screening and referral to services that best meet their needs. Adults in need of assistance with homeless services should go to 2691 30th St., the location for Coordinated Entry in the City of Boulder.

What changes will I see in my community?

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, located in north Boulder, now serves clients in need of longer-term shelter and support in the Housing-focused Shelter (HFS) program. HFS is prioritized for Boulder residents.

Individuals with short-term sheltering needs are now referred to the Bridge House Path to Home Navigation program, co-located with Coordinated Entry at 2691 30th St.

Many tourists and visitors come to our community including those who may need assistance. Priority for homeless services and housing is given to existing Boulder residents.

How can I help?

Please refer anyone asking for assistance to go to:

  • Coordinated Entry
    • Boulder- 2691 30th St.
    • Longmont- OUR Center, 220 Collyer St.
  • Call 211

Additional Information

  • No matter the need, all individuals experiencing homelessness in Boulder County begin receiving services through a Coordinated Entry location. Services and resources are prioritized for Boulder County residents.
  • We hope that everyone who visits our public spaces aids in taking care of them. Please respect park rules and etiquette, including disposing of trash in a receptacle.
  • Personal items left behind in public parks will be removed from these spaces and disposed of as abandoned or discarded items.
  • We want everyone in our community, housed or unhoused, to feel safe and enjoy our city. If you witness something suspicious or illegal, report it.

 


 

During the first year  (Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018) of the new Homeless Solutions for Boulder County (HSBC) adult service system, nearly 400 individuals successfully exited homeless services countywide . In HSBC, all adult individuals seeking services start with a coordinated entry evaluation that matches their needs with programs. The Bridge House Path to Home Navigation program provides (PTHN) services for individuals who need short-term assistance, while Boulder Shelter for the Homeless provides the Housing-Focused Shelter (HFS) program for those needing longer-term assistance. Both programs focus on helping people to exit homeless emergency services as quickly as possible.

 


Homelessness Strategy

Homelessness is a top priority in the City of Boulder, with a new Homelessness Strategy approved in June 2017.

Homelessness Strategy Vision

Boulder residents, including families and individuals, have opportunities to achieve or maintain a safe, stable home in the community.

The Homelessness Strategy seeks to achieve that vision by pursuing 6 key goals:

Goal 1: Expand pathways to permanent housing and retention

Goal 2: Expand access to programs and services to reduce or prevent homelessness

Goal 3: Support an efficient and effective services system based on best practice and data-driven results

Goal 4: Support access to a continuum of basic services as part of a pathway to self-sufficiency and stability

Goal 5: Support access to public information about homelessness and community solutions

Goal 6: Create public spaces that are welcoming and safe for residents and visitors

More information on the homelessness strategy can be found here .

Implementing the Homelessness Strategy Vision

The city is actively working on Homelessness Strategy Goals through a variety of initiatives. Three key initiatives for 2018 include:

  • Keep Families Housed Pilot;
  • Data collection and analysis of new system for adults experiencing homelessness; and
  • Housing Target Implementation

Keep Families Housed Pilot

Families are an important part of the city’s Homelessness Strategy. In 2017, the city partnered with the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) on Keep Families Housed, a pilot with a funding investment of $263,000. The Keep Families Housed pilot aims to prevent families from falling into homelessness by providing them with up to three short-term rental assistance payments throughout the year to stay in current housing. The second and third payments are tied to families completing actions to improve family stability and long-term well-being for children.

Keep Families Housed Participants Achieving Stability Benchmarks in 2017

Well-Being Benchmark:* Total:
Eligible children enrolled in health insurance 532
Enrolled in school, General Education Development (GED), or graduated 503
Medical check-up in the past year 166
Eligible childrenreceive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Freeand Reduced Lunch (FRL) benefits 155
Dental check-up in the past year 153
Parents have completed at least 1 Boulder County Financial Stability class, or participated in a 1:1 financial session with Boulder Counth Community Education  148
School District Infinite Campus connection for parents of school-age children to access real-time data on attendance, grades and assignments 132
Early education home visitation for children age 3 and under 50
Parental visit compliance 16

*Not all benchmarks are applicable to all families.

In 2017, 332 families received a first rental assistance payment, 268 a second payment and 160 a third payment. OMNI Institute conducted an evaluation of the Keep Families Housed pilot year (2017). None of the families surveyed for the OMNI evaluation became homeless after participating in the program. The evaluation also found significant improvements in the percentage of families who indicated a safe, stable, or thriving situation in the areas of employment, income, food and money management when assessed via the Self Sufficiency Matrix (SSM) tool.

Family Change to Safe, Stable or Thriving in SSM Domains 

Note. Percentage of families scoring above the prevention line on each SSM domain (i.e., score of 3 or higher). McNemar’s Test. **p<.01.

Funding for the Keep Families Housed program has continued in 2018. The city also provides ongoing support for families experiencing, or at risk for homelessness through the city’s Family Resource Schools program and funding support to Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN), Mother House and other EFAA programs.

Analysis of Adult Homeless Services System Implementation

A new sheltering and services model for single adults, Homeless Solutions for Boulder County, was implemented countywide in October 2017. The model focuses on coordinated entry, navigation services and prioritizing resources and a housing path for higher-need people. This model was developed by a working group convened in the fall of 2016, comprised of city and county staff, homeless service providers, a mental health professional and homeless client representatives. Key recommendations of the working group's final report pdf include:

  • Implement a coordinated entry system: One-two “doors” in the community as entry points for everyone seeking help.
  • Implement a common tool to assess everyone before services, to understand and target needs appropriately.
  • Prioritize support and community resources for people with higher support needs that cannot self-resolve quickly. Allow them to stay in housing-focused shelter until placed in housing.
  • Develop navigation (diversion) programming for people not best served by entering the system. Include some emergency sheltering for people in navigation plans which require more than one day to complete.
  • Implement housing targets and consistent housing investment for exit strategies. Set a target of 60 new units countywide (25 in the city of Boulder) each year for three years.
  • Use real-time data feedback for testing assumptions and adjusting system elements.
  • Include options for emergency severe/unusual weather sheltering. 

For more information on available services, please visit the Homeless Solutions for Boulder County website or  Get Help: Homelessness Resources in Boulder .

 

Services Flow in Homeless Solutions for Boulder County

System Flow Chart

Coordinated Entry

All single homeless adults must go through the Coordinated Entry process to receive services from Boulder County or the cities of Boulder or Longmont.  After meeting with a staff person and going through a short screening, clients will be referred to the most appropriate service depending on their needs.

Client screening services will be available in Boulder seven days a week at 2691 30th St, near the corner of 30th and Valmont. The hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day except Tuesday when the hours are noon-4 p.m. This location is accessible by the BOUND and 208/F bus routes.

For more information on countywide Coordinated Entry, please visit:  https://www.bouldercounty.org/homeless/

Housing-Focused Shelter

Housing-focused Shelter (HFS) will facilitate housing entry for qualified moderate and high-needs individuals by providing overnight sheltering and wrap-around services on an extended basis. Those participating in HFS can remain at BSH until they have been successfully, permanently housed.

Path to Home Navigation Services (PTHN)

Navigation Services provide short-term support for lower-needs individuals who require limited assistance to get back into permanent housing. Individuals will work with a case manager to develop a housing plan and can receive mediation support, financial assistance, legal assistance, assistance reunifying with support networks, and links to county and other community programs as needed. Overnight sleeping space will also be available to qualified navigation participants who need a place to stay in the short term.

Boulder Navigation Services will begin as an extension of Bridge House’s existing Path to Home program, which uses faith community space for overnight sleeping, morning meal service, and case management. Clients will be referred to Navigation Services through the Coordinated Entry screening.

Housing Target Implementation

During the first year of Homeless Solutions for Boulder County, the new system helped nearly 400 people countywide exit emergency sheltering services for more stable housing solutions. Some individuals are also able to resolve their housing crisis independently, and those exits are not captured in system data because the exit destination is unknown. Successful exits from City of Boulder services can be viewed on the city’s adult homelessness dashboard.

In 2017 countywide goals were set for increasing the supply of housing for people experiencing homelessness:

  • 60 new units/vouchers each year for three years countywide; with 25 of the 60 each year in the City of Boulder.

 

During the first year of Homelessness Strategy implementation, the city and its partners advanced this strategy with several specific initiatives:

 

Identifying units in city-funded affordable housing developments

By working with developers on new housing projects funded by the City of Boulder, the Housing and Human Services Department has planned for more than 90 permanent supportive housing (PSH) units that will come online over the next three years, including seven that have already been created since Oct. 1, 2017. An additional 20 PSH units are proposed in developments that have yet to seek funding from the city’s Housing and Human Services Department. Vouchers or other subsidies to support rent payments and case management have not yet been identified for all units.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an evidence-based approach that places people in housing quickly and provides supportive services to help people retain housing. PSH is designed to meet the long-term housing and service needs of chronically homeless individuals and families. The type of services depends on the needs of the residents and may be provided on a short-term, sporadic, ongoing or indefinite basis. The housing is usually “affordable” or intended to serve persons on a Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

 

City-funded PSH vouchers

Boulder Housing Partners and the City of Boulder entered into a partnership in Jan. 2018 to house and provide supportive services (through Boulder Shelter for the Homeless) for chronically homeless households. This agreement is for $200,000 per year and has now housed 12 people. It is the first time the city has provided a long-term rental subsidy with supportive services.

Countywide Housing Progress

HSBC partners have worked aggressively to apply for federal and state funding for additional supportive housing resources and establish updated targets for housing resources using system data. For example, Boulder Housing Partners applied for and was awarded 28 additional vouchers from HUD, which will benefit a core demographic for HSBC, those under the age of 62 with a disabling condition. Boulder County, in partnership with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, the Inn Between, and Mental Health Partners, also applied to the State Division of Housing for rent assistance to convert 20 existing units to permanent supportive housing. Official notification on the funding decision for that application is expected imminently.

 

Additional countywide progress toward developing housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness is described in the HSBC Six Month Status Report. Housing for people experiencing homelessness is also a part of the ongoing work of the Regional Housing Strategy, adopted by Boulder City Council in the fall of 2017.

 

Staff Contact

Wendy Schwartz, Homeless Initiatives Manager,  [email protected] , 303-441-1818.

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