Homeless Prevention & Response System Strategic Plan
A safe, stable, and affordable home is one of the most basic needs for any individual or family. Without a stable home, it is far more difficult for a student to succeed in school, for a veteran to reenter civilian life, or for any individual or family to maintain basic health and wellbeing.
For more than 20 years, the Snohomish County Human Services Department (HSD) and Everett/Snohomish County Continuum of Care (CoC) planning body/Board have led a coordinated effort to prevent and end homelessness in Snohomish County. In recent years, the HSD and the Partnership to End Homelessness (PEH) CoC Board have partnered with local agencies to implement system transformations that focus on the most effective and efficient interventions for quickly moving individuals and families experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.
The Homeless Prevention & Response System Strategic Plan was adopted by the Partnership to End Homelessness, the governing body for the Everett/Snohomish County CoC, whose vision is that every person in Snohomish County lives in safe, stable, and affordable housing with access to necessary services and economic opportunity.
The purpose of the Plan is to enhance the community’s current response to preventing and ending homelessness, so that:
- The homeless housing and service system rapidly responds to people in need by prioritizing the most vulnerable and provides equitable access to safe, stable, and affordable housing;
- The homeless housing and service system utilizes evidence-based practices to effectively and efficiently assist people in crisis; and
- There is an integrated, cross-system approach that prevents and ends homelessness in Snohomish County.
A summary of the key components of the Plan:
Causes of Homelessness in Snohomish County
Causes of homelessness in Snohomish County are nuanced and complex, and include community-level determinants, such as rising rental costs that outpace income growth and a lack of affordable housing, to social determinants, such as opioid addiction, mental health, and domestic violence.
The Point-In-Time (PIT) Count and Snohomish County Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) provide valuable data on individuals and families experiencing homelessness that informs funding priorities, increases coordination between housing and service providers, and tracks progress toward the goal of preventing and ending homelessness in Snohomish County.
Through the PIT Count and Snohomish County HMIS, data on homeless subpopulations is gathered in order to tailor interventions to their unique needs. Subpopulations for which data is gathered include: racial and ethnic identification; veterans; individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness; families with children; unaccompanied youth and young adults; survivors of domestic violence; and seniors.
The homeless housing and service system, which uses a low-barrier and housing first approach to quickly move individuals and families to permanent housing consists of: outreach services, Coordinated Entry and navigation services, homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, transitional housing, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and other permanent housing.
The homeless housing and service system is regularly assessed using performance measures adopted by the PEH; these include system, project, and population specific measures. By regularly measuring and reviewing specific data points, the PEH is better able to assess and make improvements to the system.
GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES
Refer to the Plan for specific Strategies for achieving the following Goals and Objectives.
Goal 1: Equity of Access and Rapid Response to People in Need
The homeless housing and service system must rapidly respond to people in need by prioritizing the most vulnerable and must provide equitable access to safe, stable, and affordable housing.
Objective 1: Comprehensive and Coordinated Outreach
Ensures that people in need have access, through the Coordinated Entry System, to safe, stable, and affordable housing, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, familial status, disability, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
Objective 2: Streamlined System
Ensures that current interventions and resources are used effectively and efficiently, with a focus on reducing redundancies and barriers to access by having a robust and responsive Coordinated Entry System.
The homeless housing and service system must utilize evidence-based practices to effectively and efficiently assist people in crisis.
Objective 1: Maximize System Capacity
Using evidence-based practices, fully utilizing existing interventions, and allocating funding to interventions that successfully move homeless individuals and families to permanent housing allows Snohomish County to work toward achieving the goal of preventing and ending homelessness.
Objective 2: Training & Support on Evidence-Based Practices
Ensures that housing and service providers have the tools and skills necessary to implement client-centered, evidence- based practices.
There must be an integrated, cross-system approach to prevent and end homelessness in Snohomish County. Collaborations with the following systems of care ensures that individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness receive the services needed to obtain and maintain permanent housing.
Objective 1: Integrated Care
Collaborating with integrated care, including health and behavioral health systems.
Objective 2: Criminal Justice
Collaborating with the criminal justice system.
Objective 3: Education and Employment
Collaborating with education and employment systems.
Objective 4: Other Systems of Care
Collaborating with other systems of care, including child safety and youth transition services, and services for veterans and seniors.
The full Plan can be found here: Homeless Prevention & Response System Strategic Plan. Questions about the Strategic Plan may be directed to: Debbi Trosvig, Supervisor, Office of Community & Homeless Services, 425.388.7116