The City of Modesto is proud to announce that it has received the prestigious 2023 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in recognition of its exceptional efforts to address homelessness in the community. The awards were presented at the League of California Cities 2023 Annual Conference and Expo held in Sacramento.
Established in 1982 by the League of California Cities, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence celebrates exceptional achievements by California's 482 cities. These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of city governments in enhancing the well-being of their residents and businesses, resulting in reduced costs and improved service delivery.
The City of Modesto has earned not one, but two Helen Putnam Awards for Excellence from the League of California Cities. The first award was granted for the outstanding Continuum of Care for Youth Experiencing Homelessness program, which encompasses a comprehensive system of care. This program includes a navigation center with 48 low-barrier shelter and transitional housing beds, the conversion of an underutilized commercial property into 14 permanent supportive housing units, and a wide range of wrap-around supportive services.
The second award was bestowed upon the City for the remarkable Community Health and Engagement Team (CHAT) program. Launched by the Modesto Police Department in 2022, CHAT deploys professionally trained civilian outreach specialists to handle non-criminal and non-violent quality-of-life calls for service. These dedicated CHAT members engage with individuals facing crises or challenges, providing whole-person care by offering essential services and resources without involving law enforcement.
Modesto Mayor Sue Zwahlen commented, "These awards are a testament to the tireless efforts of the City to combat homelessness in Modesto. We continue to be at the forefront of addressing this critical issue and serve as a national model for caring for residents experiencing or at risk of homelessness."
The City of Modesto partnered with the local nonprofit Center for Human Services to establish the Youth Navigation Center (YNC). This innovative center takes a "one-stop shop" approach, consolidating multiple services under one roof and introducing a Coordinated Entry and Assessment system for youth that previously did not exist in the community. The YNC offers a wide range of services, including outreach and engagement, homelessness prevention, coordinated entry and assessment, 48 low-barrier shelter and transitional housing beds, education and employment services, and permanent housing opportunities tailored to the diverse needs of youth.
This significant achievement compliments the 2022 Audrey Nelson Award from the National Community Development Association for the most effective utilization of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in support of the Youth Navigation Center project. We are humbled to be honored for continuing to implement innovative housing solutions.
- 2023 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence - YNC [play video]
- 2023 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence - CHAT [play video]
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Diana Ruiz-Del Rey
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