Collaboration between state agencies, local governments, and homeless service providers is crucial for developing strategies to combat homelessness in Maryland. A recent article from Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) features a joint effort to end homelessness in Los Angeles, California.
Since last winter, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, the LA Public Library system, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (or LAHSA), have been collaborating on a new approach for providing services to people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. The idea is simple: bring multiple service providers to areas where people experiencing homelessness already congregate, and deliver services directly instead of requiring them to find an office.
“THE SOURCE” as it has become known, has been an iterative experiment, as all services should be. As the months have passed, the program has served thousands of people. We have placed people into housing. We have given people crucial identification. At the very least, we have given some people a little bit of hope.
Today, THE SOURCE operates one day per month, for three hours, at one branch of the LA Public Library. With more cooperation and funding, it’s possible this program could be replicated at every branch, and in every county. With adaptation, it might even become a semi-permanent part of Library branches in LA County.
THE SOURCE is an example of what successful collaboration between public and private agencies at multiple levels can look like. State (DMV), County (Dept. of Mental Health), City (LA Public Libraries), and private (Chrysalis, a non-profit) all working in concert to get people what they need. Though it took almost a year, THE SOURCE is now able to provide people experiencing homelessness identification, on the spot, thanks to cooperation from the DMV. For those who are unfamiliar: identification is an incredible point of friction for people experiencing homelessness.
This is the genesis of “The Rehumanization Project:” unlike a typical service provider, which focuses on a specific part of the journey (housing, food, etc.), the Project focuses on the individual person experiencing homelessness. As they transition from one need to another, from one requirement to another, this “meta-service provider” helps them navigate the tangled web of interactions between systems and agencies, all the while keeping the person at the center, and as the single priority.
For more information, read the full article.
At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, you can learn about best practices and challenges related to homelessness in Maryland.
Here are more details:
Title: Winter Is Coming: Fortify Your Shelters for Frosty Weather
Description: While resources for sheltering have been stretched thin in recent years, through strengthening partnerships and improving data sharing, local jurisdictions are seeking to provide safety and warmth to the homeless throughout the year, and especially during winter. Homeless Management Information Systems, point-in-time counts, and shelter data can contribute to the work of public and nonprofit partners providing shelter to the homeless in cold weather. In this session, learn how year-round data collection and assessments can inform and strengthen partnerships to provide sheltering for a population in need, when they need it the most.
Date/Time: Thursday, December 8, 2016; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 7-9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “An Ounce of Prevention.”
Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: