Homelessness 10-Year Plan

February 2008: Updates on “Opening Doors, Unlocking Potential:
Mayor’s 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness”

  • To date several meetings have taken place. These Committees have spent countless hours of their time in a unified effort to educate themselves on the issue of homelessness.
  • Susan Duecy has been added as an ex- official member to the Homelessness Implementation Steering Committee
  • New sub-committee members include Russell Trippet who is now serving on the Housing Ad Hoc Committee.  Mr. Trippet is the president of Brothers Management Company.
  • Updates on the Keys to Success

Planning for Outcomes: Develop plans to end rather than manage chronic homelessness: Increase Public Awareness and Involvement with Homelessness Issues

  • Poverty simulation is used by Mission Waco in order to raise public awareness about homelessness and other poverty issues. In 2007, almost 600 participants went through the weekend Poverty Simulation. Participants come from all over the region and as far away as North Carolina, California, and Arizona. Executive Director, Jimmy Dorrell just completed a national training in Birmingham of “State Directors of the WMU (Baptist)” on how to effectively do poverty simulations for their constituents around the nation this Fall. He and his wife wrote the book, “Plunge2Poverty: An Intensive Poverty Simulation Experience,” last year to help other groups follow the basic principles and content of the model they have been doing for the last 21 years.
  • The Waco Tribune-Herald has published several articles to raise awareness of about homelessness including one featuring Teri Holtkamp, the Homelessness Administrator at the City of Waco.
  • Plans are in the works to allow local churches to sponsor homeless individuals or units of housing for a particular homeless person
  • Several public service campaigns have taken place such as a radio interview with the Homelessness Coordinator, Teri Holtkamp. The city produced a documentary featuring the homeless of Waco aired on WCCC-TV.

1. Connect and Educate Chronic Homeless with Available Services

  • A focus group comprised of homeless individuals for continued input was formed in 2006 and met for several months. These meetings will resume in March 2008.
  • Development of Communities Resources cards: one specifically for those who are experiencing homelessness and one for those who are ex-offenders being released from correctional facilities

Insure the Identification of Support Systems for Homeless

Identify Costs of Homelessness: Chronic, Transitional, At-Risk, and Prevention

  • The Homelessness Coordinator is constantly researching ways to find grant funds, help continue the funding through the Continuum of Care grant program, and using the Local/State Funding Report to find grant funds.

Utilize HMIS as a Central Clearing House for Up to Date Information and Resource

  • Utilization of and training for HMIS is still in the works

Identify All Possible Points of Entry and Prioritize Agency Input

  • Advocate 100% participation from local service providers to utilize HMIS.

Increase Methods of Auditing, Tracking, and Networking Between Various Homeless Service Providers

  • While specific chronic homelessness case management teams are yet to be formed, MHMR has begun looking at crisis management teams that will be available and useful to homeless individuals in the community

Connect Effective Case Management Team, Social Agencies, Dental, All Medical, and Churches in the Community

  • Healthcare Subcommittee has met several times discussing gaps in services for the homeless including case management issues such as how to reduce the recidivism rate, how to design an intake process for applicants, determining case loads, needed support systems, licensed case management, subcommittee issues to evaluate, permanent supportive housing, tax credits, and case unit managers

2. Closing the Front Door: Prevent future homelessness

  • Coordinate a Discharge Plan for Individuals Exiting from Institutions and Public Agencies (Including Foster Care Programs) to Provide Mental Health and Adequate Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Increased collaboration and assistance to individuals in prison, hospitals, and correctional facilities and linking people with existing housing options has been done through the Baylor School of Social Work, Heart of Texas Council of Governments, and MHMR

Invest in Long Term Prevention by Supporting Individuals and Families to Build Strong Communities

Some sources providing job training and life skill building, recreation, holistic education and services, and medical services include: Mission Waco’s M-Powerment Program, a current plan for housing with support services, local churches providing meals, Bible studies, and daily devotions; also, Family Health Services has taken over the free clinic in Waco

Several organizations have expanded current affordable housing opportunities (down payment assistance; rental, eviction, and mortgage foreclosure assistance; rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance; emergency rental assistant funding) including:

Waco Community Development Corporation- A huge collaborative effort through Waco CDC included donations from the city, Synergy Bank, and the local neighborhood associations built a home called the Milestone House for a family of 5 that won several awards; also according to an update in a February 2008 newsletter they have helped 60 people become new homeowners, completed 26 new homes, renovated 9 homes, and counseled 653 people

NeighborWorks Waco- Development of a foreclosure assistance program in 2006 that counseled 59 families in the 2007 fiscal year; In 2006, they also provided homeownership and credit counseling to 356 individuals and families, helped many households with down payment assistance, and assisted 138 families with homeownership. They also helped rehab homes during their annual events “Revivalation” and “Good Neighbor Week”.

Waco Habitat for Humanity-  Completed 6 homes last year and closed on 7 homes

Edanbra Development Corporation (EDC)

3. Opening the Back Door: Help people exit homelessness

Provide Adequate Healthcare Services to Chronically Homeless

Project Homeless Connect 2008 provided several opportunities through various local agencies and Veteran’s Affairs services.

  • Health services- Dental evaluations (18 people served), Family Health Center (16 people served), Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center (26 people served), Planned Parenthood of Central Texas (9 people served), Potter’s Vessel Ministries (14 people served), VA Nurses (23 people served), VA Department of Podiatry (6 people served), and Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (13 people served)
  • Counseling services- Family Abuse Center (6 people served), HCHV Social Worker (6 people served), and Suicide Prevention Coordinator (9 people served)
  • Job training/education- Christian Women’s Job Corps (24 people served), Member’s Choice Credit Union (16 people served), Mission Waco (12 people served), Social Security Administration (11 people served), Texas Veterans’ Commission at Workforce Center (6 people served), and Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas (6 people served)
  • Long-term substance abuse treatment with concurring psychiatric substance abuse disorders- Freeman Center (1 person served), and Just As I Am Ministries, Inc. (15 people served

Creating Effective Case Management System

  • The Healthcare Subcommittee continues to meet and have developed a wish list for how to make the case management system run smooth and efficiently

Create Permanent Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless

  • Several meetings have been held concerning this key issue in ending chronic homelessness including: counsel meetings, steering committee meetings, subcommittee meetings (healthcare, data/finance, housing, outreach, homeless counsel, prisoner reentry), RICH (Regional Interagency Counsel on Homelessness) meetings, as well as, RICH pilot program design committees
  • An agreement has been made between the City of Waco and Mercy Housing in order to receive consultation and planning assistance to develop a pilot permanent supportive housing model project for Waco, Texas

Identify Needs

  • There is current discussion on how to create an outreach task force to serve homeless directly and connect them with available services
  • Project Homeless Connect 2008 utilized van to reach out to the homeless and transport them to medical and dental facilities for care

4. Building Infrastructure: Address the systematic problems that lead to poverty and homelessness

Identify and Provide Funding Sources for All Programs, Solutions, and Support Efforts to End Chronic Homelessness

  • The crisis intervention team will be work on collaboration of agencies to secure funding for behavioral health services

Work Closely with All Existing Agencies and Homeless Coalition

  • Volunteers have been recruited from local churches, colleges, veteran organization, and community organization
  • Teri Holtkamp was hired as a full-time staff person to implement and assist in identifying funding options for this homeless initiative

Improve Communication

  • There is continued research on needed healthcare services and follow-up being done by the Healthcare Subcommittee
  • The goal of improving communication through newsletters and expansion of Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition list serve membership is in the works
  • City council members are some of the individuals who are members of the Steering Committee on Homelessness

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