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Communities Supporting Safe & Stable HousingShifting the paradigm: developing a new approach to shelter investments
The Seattle Human Services Department has launched a new initiative, Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing, which will develop a vision and plan for the City’s future investments in emergency shelter, transitional housing, day centers/hygiene centers and supportive services for people who are homeless.
This initiative brings together community members, shelter and housing providers, businesses, faith communities, the Committee to End Homelessness, and other stakeholders in meetings and discussions from May through October 2011.
An advisory council with more than 30 agency representatives will meet monthly in intensive working group sessions. We will also conduct broader community engagement meetings and smaller focus groups of clients and constituents to gather input on specific topics. The planning work is aligned with regional efforts and the CEH Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness and the recent mid-plan review recommendations, and all of these meetings will inform planning for a 2012 Request for Investment (RFI).
Visualizing a Seamless System (May 26, 2011)
More than 60 people from 33 organizations participated in the May 26th launch event, including social service and housing providers, advocacy groups, homeless client representatives, Seattle Public Schools, suburban cities and CEH.
Meeting participants were invited to take part in a creative, collaborative exercise where they diagrammed and discussed their collective vision for a seamless services system.
Exploring Investment Priorities (June 16, 2011)
The advisory group held its first meeting, where the discussion centered on working together to discuss investment priorities and identify key issues to pay attention to in developing the investment plan. Three common themes/priorities emerged from the discussions.
1. Client (individual and family) centered approached (built on relationships, including peer to peer models)
The group was left with two questions to consider for the next meeting.
Intentional Pathways to Housing (July 21, 2011)
Advisory group members were asked to consider how investments will create intentional pathways out of shelter to housing, especially for those who have resided in shelter care for a long time and are frequent users of the shelter care system.
In small groups, the Advisory Group members were asked to create a “menu” of HSD-funded support services to increase pathways to housing. The groups were asked to prioritize the menu of services by allocating $100 among the items on their service menus.
Integrating Services to Increase Impact and Efficiency (August 18, 2011)
Discussion at this advisory group meeting centered on a homework assignment in which members were asked to identify action idea(s) to better integrate services in order to increase impact and efficiency of investments. Two questions were posed to encourage discussion:
Moving to a System with Goals and Measures for Success (September 15, 2011)
The Advisory Council reviewed new federal HEARTH (Homeless Emergency and Rapid Transition to Housing) Act performance measures as a backdrop for a discussion on determining measures of success. The discussion highlighted the challenge of trying to provide services with increasing needs and fewer resources, the difficulties inherent in trying to prioritize need and the importance of a multi-system approach so that the responsibility of ending homelessness doesn’t fall only on agencies focused on serving homeless populations. Competing values and points of view were expressed; however the discussions clearly demonstrated the commitment of members to continue to work together preventing and ending homelessness.
HSD greatly appreciates the participation of the Advisory Council and the work of its members to inform both the Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing Investment Plan and the 2012 RFI.
If you have any questions about the Communities Supporting Safe and Stable Housing Initiative, please contact Andrea Akita, Seattle Human Services Department, at 206-684-0113.
Seattle Human Services Department
Accommodations for people with disabilities provided upon request.