City Staff Participate in Health Care for the Homeless Research Trip

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News Date: 
December 14, 2017
Homeless Housing staff and facilities

Early in December, The Community Foundation of Monterey County funded a health care for the homeless research trip to facilities in Alameda County, CA, Ventura County, CA and Maricopa County, AZ.  The trip included a cohort of Anastacia Wyatt, City of Salinas Housing & Community Development, Planning Manager, Manny Gonzales, Monterey County Assistant CAO, Michael Lisman, Monterey County Behavioral Health Deputy Director, Janelle Nunez, Monterey/San Benito Coalition of Homeless Services Providers Management Analyst, Janet Shing, Community Foundation for Monterey County Director of Grant Making, Dan Griffee, Dorothy’s Place Board President, and Jill Allen, Dorothy’s Place Executive Director.  

Key take ways from the trip include:

  • Each of the counties visited had a separate health care clinic designated for those experiencing homelessness.These clinics were Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHC) funded through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • All health clinics mentioned that the Affordable Care Act allowed people to access medical insurance. Access to affordable health care has incentivized more homeless to receive services.
  • Housing outcomes were a big focus for all agencies. Health care and housing are tied together for the success and health of individuals. Ventura County was able to house 100 people in the past year due to the collaboration of Ventura County staff with the local Continuum of Care Alliance.
  • Each County also had a Homeless Court that assisted individuals to clear their records and assist them with managing fines to assist people to be ready for work and housing.
  • Each California County was working on implementing the Whole Person Care (WPC) Program through the California Department of Health Care Services that was launched in November 2016. The WPC program was authorized through California’s section 1115 waiver, Medi-Cal 2020. The WPC program was designed to coordinate health, behavioral health and social services to improve Medi-Cal beneficiaries’ health outcomes.

Maricopa County had a homeless service campus that was built in 2005 with additional services beyond health care and included a site for meals, a shelter for men and women and respite care. The campus had different buildings run by individual non-profits that included Saint Vincent de Paul of Arizona, the Andre House, and the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Alameda County had a health clinic that was providing excellent services in the midst of an affordable housing crisis in the City. All clinics have been operating for at least 20 years with the same purpose to serve the homeless in need of health care. Innovative approaches the cohort learned about included a homeless identification system to ensure homeless were included in the Homeless Management Identification System (HMIS).

Ventura County required safe parking program users to have a homeless I.D. and be in the system to utilize the program. All vehicles had to be moved daily and if vehicles were inoperable, local mechanics would assist vehicle owners with repairs. This program also rotated throughout the County. There was also collaboration with downtown businesses in Ventura County to work with non-profits on homeless issues. Each city in Ventura County had a designated police officer that worked with the health clinic to update individuals’ information.