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News Release: Encinitas’ Investment to House Veterans and Chronically Homeless A Success

ENCINITAS, Calif.; June 28, 2017 – After a successful one-year pilot program, the City of Encinitas is scheduled to reauthorize funding for the Opening Doors Project, a program in which it partnered with local social services organization, Community Resource Center (CRC), to help end homelessness among veterans and the chronically homeless in Encinitas by assessing and matching homeless households with supportive services and housing. In the pilot period, the program completed 123 housing assessments, connected 69 households with a housing navigator and successfully placed 27 households representing 61 individuals in permanent housing.

The program designated a Housing Navigator, who is a trained individual to serve as a point person for those experiencing homelessness in Encinitas. The role of the Housing Navigator is to complete standard assessments of homeless households, match households to available housing resources and assist in the housing placement process. The program also included funds for landlord incentives, move-in support, indirect costs, and technical assistance.

Challenges discovered in the first year of the program included lack of housing availability and high market rents on the housing side and households with challenging job, credit and health situations needing more permanent support services. Additionally, based on lessons learned during the pilot year, second year funding is restructured to allow for Housing Case Managers who will support the Housing Navigator by initiating housing assessment process and overseeing connecting homeless households with housing services. Landlord incentives and move-in support is also included. The goal for the second year is to place an additional 32 homeless households.

“This program aligns with the City’s commitment to improve quality of life for all residents in Encinitas, including the homeless,” said Nicole Piano- Jones, management analyst with the City of Encinitas. “By partnering with a qualified social service group like CRC, we were able to successfully and cost-effectively house those experiencing homelessness in Encinitas, and help them to become more secure, self-sufficient and provide stability for families and children in school. The program is a great investment into the future of Encinitas.”

“Thanks to the Encinitas Opening Doors program, in partnership with the City of Encinitas, people like Michael Williams, a college-educated veteran and author, now have a place to call home,” said Isabel St. Germain Singh, CEO of Community Resource Center. “I am proud of the direct and sustainable impact of the Opening Doors program and honored that other cities are looking to replicate this successful program.”

"What a success! The fact that we were able to place 27 households, half of them with kids, into homes when they were living on the street is a tremendous accomplishment. I believe nearly all people want stability and a roof over their head. Together with our community partners we're changing real people's lives," said Catherine Blakespear, Mayor of the City of Encinitas.

Of the 27 households placed during the pilot period, 14 were made up of families and 13 were single individuals. Eight households received deposit and move-in assistance through the City’s pilot project, 10 households received deposit and rental assistance from outside agencies, and nine households received no financial assistance, just a move-in kit from CRC. A move-in kit typically includes household items such as bedding, furniture, and kitchenware.

For more information on the City of Encinitas’s Open Doors Program and all of its homeless resources, visit https://encinitasca.gov/Resident/Housing-Resources/Homeless-Resources.

Click here for the PDF version of the Press Release.