“Compassion with accountability”. Another CAN! tenet since day one.
A truly effective solution to current crisis MUST have:
A. Subject matter experts, not volunteers with ideas based off of one tiny village or one program in another state. Serving unsheltered individuals requires targeted outreach and expertise, not wishful thinking.
B. Strong program management with follow through and accountability. Concise and easily understood metrics outlining incoming funding sources and outgoing expenditures. Accurate tracking of individuals throughout Coordinated Entry from indoor/outdoor shelters to outside service providers with clear goals and immediate suspension of funding if significant reductions in unsheltered populations is not achieved within an agreed timeframe.
C. A concrete plan for “service resistant” individuals. There has to be a component to address individuals who will not help themselves with consequences for not complying. A database of repeat offenders and declined services must be logged into HMIS and that data must be available not only the City and County staff but also to the public. HIPPA is acknowledged and an individual’s privacy must be respected so any identifying information may be redacted. No more “revolving door”.
D. Qualified staff in each department responsible for whichever aspect of the plan applies to them. These must be staffed by qualified individuals who have relevant degrees or extensive background pertinent to their job requirements, and a proven track record. They are tasked with defining, structuring, and executing best practices.
E. Volunteers are welcomed and encouraged however they must not be involved in policy-making decisions or manage day-to-day operations.
F. Day-to-day operations of any sanctioned encampment should be run by competent County or City employed staff OR if a non-profit is contracted, people who have been trained or possess experience in managing operations of this type. They alone possess the authority to enforce strict rules of governance and maintain order.
G. In summation, any plan MUST have a firm end date with a clear timetable that is tracked for evidence of positive outcomes.