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Oct 22

Update on City's Response to Homelessness

Posted on October 22, 2020 at 2:10 PM by Thomas Reeves

Modesto is a community that loves to help. That’s evident in the thousands of volunteer hours contributed around the City every year, whether through a one-day volunteer festival like Love Modesto or a long-term commitment you may have with a local non-profit close to your heart.

One of the ways the City is doing our part is by creating new and inventive solutions to homelessness. In the past few months, we’ve been hard at work developing three ways that will support current services and shape new ones to fill in the gaps.

“We want to open as many doors as possible to a life off the streets to improve their quality of life and the lives of those around them,” Caluha Barnes, Deputy City Manager said.

Camp2Home Program Launch
The goal of the Camp2Home program is to implement a homeless action plan that reduces encampments in public spaces, ensures the provision of supportive services and identifies strategies for permanent housing.

With nearly $5 million total funding from federal Emergency Solutions Grants and state Community Development Block Grants, this program is offering an innovative solution and a hand up, not a hand out to those in need.

Program leaders will reach out to individuals and partner with low barrier shelters to house those willing to engage. Individuals will participate in a “job ready” curriculum from the Downtown Streets Team that assists in writing resumes, calculating budgets, and obtaining government-issued identification, like ID cards and birth certificates.

Those enrolled in the program will work in four different city departments over the course of a year, expanding their resumes and gaining hands-on job experience. After graduation, these individuals can be hired for full-time work at a number of local businesses with ongoing case management and will be assisted in finding permanent housing.

SCRG Creation
The County is partnering with us in a multijurisdictional agreement called the Stanislaus Community Response Guidelines for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness (SCRG).

Certain locations within the City are under the jurisdiction and control of the State or County, which complicates the procedure for enforcing encampments on the City’s side. (For an example, see last week’s blog post on the State Route 99 Cleanup.)

This agreement will standardize how to address encampments crossing City or County lines to significantly increase the probability of successful outcomes for all involved: those experiencing homelessness, responding staff, and the community.

HEART Expansion
We are also expanding our police department’s outreach program, Homeless Engagement and Response Team (HEART). Six part-time employees will widen the scope of outreach and to ensure a variety of services are offered to individuals experiencing homelessness in the City.

As you can see, the City is working hard to partner with organizations and devise programs to help solve homelessness in ways that will make a measurable difference.

Those experiencing homelessness are taking advantage of the programs we provide in order to better their lives and the lives of those around them—and Modesto has the community to support them.