Approximately 1,600 people in our community are experiencing homelessness every night—a shocking number that has increased by approximately 15% each year. These individuals are our friends, our neighbors, and perhaps our relatives who suffer from mental illness, a physical disability, an addiction, or simply do not have (or earn) enough money to sustain themselves.
This growing number of people experiencing homelessness in Modesto prompted the City to think more critically about the needs of the homeless and possible gaps in the current systems. A key gap we identified was that the traditional strategies to address homelessness have historically focused primarily on housing and shelter and have not focused enough on the root causes of homelessness. We do not believe these efforts have focused enough on helping individuals secure permanent employment to help them sustain their housing.
We’ve titled our solution Camp2Home, to illustrate a person’s path to self-sufficiency. It aims to address homelessness on five key fronts:
- Expanding our ability to reach individuals experiencing homelessness by enhancing our Homeless Engagement Assessment and Response Team (HEART) to help with engagement and navigation to shelter and supportive services.
- Supporting our shelters with additional capacity and funding in coordination with the County.
- Offering a robust job training initiative in partnership with a few regional nonprofits that also provide case management to address an individual’s unique needs and barriers to employment.
- Developing an employment pipeline in partnership with public and private stakeholders.
- Providing subsidized housing to individuals experiencing homelessness who enroll in the city’s job training initiative.
This model is developed based on the success of the Downtown Streets Team (DST), which has helped dozens of homeless individuals secure employment and housing in Modesto. The DST model is comprised of a team of 25 individuals whose goal includes employment and connection to services to support their progress.
In January 2021, the City doubled the existing Downtown Streets Team, funding a second team of 25 individuals in our inaugural Camp2Home program. Since January, seven Camp2Home team members have secured employment with a private employer! The City of Modesto is proud to be one of those employers – having hired four of the former DST members to support blight abatement efforts across the City.
We are inviting our private sector partners to help the City address homelessness by hiring graduates from the DST as permanent part-time or full-time employees, considering our graduates as viable renters for housing opportunities, and/or by donating to directly support the Camp2Home program.
Homelessness is a community issue that no single organization can resolve alone—it will take a village—and we hope that the community can come alongside us to help better the lives of those in our community who need a hand up.
To see how you can get involved, please contact Jessica Hill
, Community Development Manager or Edgar R. Garcia
, Management Analyst.
Join us on June 29, 2021 and learn more about the Camp2Home program and how the City of Modesto is working to support people in need. This fully virtual presentation will begin at 11:30am through 1:00pm and is hosted in partnership with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. Pre-register via the Modesto Chamber of Commerce website and selecting the Camp2Home Webinar link.