January 16, 2020
Homeless Solutions for Boulder County (HSBC) implements system changes
HSBC is implementing service changes that further prioritize longer-term housing over temporary shelter; ensuring that Boulder County’s most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness become stably housed.
(Boulder County, Colo.) -- Homeless Solutions of Boulder County (HSBC), a public-private partnership between local government and human service nonprofits, is implementing service changes that further prioritize longer-term housing over temporary shelter; ensuring that Boulder County’s most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness become stably housed. These changes were determined by an analysis of system performance and are being introduced in phases to ensure that enough time, resources, and training occur for a successful implementation.
Since October of 2017, more than 884 single adults in Boulder County experiencing homelessness have moved into housing utilizing HSBC services, helping them avoid local emergency rooms, courts and jails. This “Housing First” approach has proven to be highly effective in helping people who are unhoused or living in places not meant for human habitation move into more permanent housing situations.
Features of the system include:
- A countywide coordinated screening process that assesses the needs of people experiencing homelessness and matches them with appropriate services and housing;
- Housing-focused shelter that provides year-round shelter and resources for individuals in greatest need of support to become more stable and get into housing;
- Shorter-term navigation services that assist people with case management and sheltering with a focus on rapid returns to stable housing;
- Diversion Services, a component of the Coordinated Entry process, which aims to divert adults from longer-term shelter services and focuses on an immediate return to stable housing. When people cannot be diverted from sheltering services, Coordinated Entry matches eligible clients to the appropriate sheltering and housing programs; and
- A common database that tracks resources provided and assesses client progress.
Background and service changes
The first service change, implemented on Sept. 18, 2019, no longer requires a lengthy history of homelessness to be eligible for Housing-focused Shelter, and prioritizes limited resources for the most vulnerable adults experiencing homelessness who have ties to the Boulder County community.
The second service change beginning now, in January 2020, will offer more robust diversion services to all clients who seek services through Coordinated Entry in Boulder and Longmont. Diversion services, a national best practice to improve outcomes for people experiencing housing crises, provides resolutions through collaborative, individual problem-solving with an emphasis on reconnecting individuals to existing support systems. In addition to the implementation of Diversion Services, Navigation programs are being realigned to serve people who have resided in Boulder County for six months or more and who do not have disabling conditions.
“Optimizations to the current system will provide a more targeted and strategic response to homelessness,” said Heidi Grove, the Homeless Solutions for Boulder County System Manager. “We found that under the old criteria, we were unable to serve very vulnerable populations who had little or no history of homelessness but who had been in our community for an extended period. These changes will allow us to offer more responsive services to adults in Boulder County who become homeless.”
Location changes for coordinated entry services
Coordinated Entry in the City of Longmont will be relocating to the St. Vrain Community Hub on Coffman Street to support the system changes. The date of this location change will be announced once HSBC determines that the proper training and resources are in place for a successful program launch. In the meantime, Coordinated Entry will take place at the OUR Center, located at 220 Collyer Street, through at least the end of January.
On June 1, Navigation Services in the City of Boulder, including overnight sheltering, will be moving from its temporary location at 2691 30th Street to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (BSH). New sites for Coordinated Entry and the Severe Weather Shelter in the City of Boulder will be announced at a later date.
Please see www.bouldercounty.org/homeless for more information on HSBC.