Blueprint to End Homelessness in Atlanta in Ten Years

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1 Bleprint to End Homelessness in Atlanta in Ten Years Table of Contents Letter to Mayor Shirley Franklin...1 Acknowledgements from the Chair...3 Exective Smmary...5 Backgrond...5 The Commission on Homelessness...5 Process Smmary...6 The Report...11 Backgrond...11 Process...12 Inpt Systems...13 Continm of Care Smmary...18 Commnity Goals Recommended By the Commission...19 Action Plan...21 Continm of Care Prevention Strategies...22 Continm of Care Otreach/Intake/Assessment Strategies...27 Continm of Care Emergency Shelter Strategies...38 Continm of Care Transitional Hosing Strategies...43 Continm of Care Permanent Spportive Hosing Strategies...48 Continm of Care Spportive Services Strategies...55 Continm of Care Permanent Affordable Hosing Strategies...71 Continm of Care Systems Strategies...73 Glossary...89 Addendm to Letter to Mayor Shirley Franklin...92 Priorities Determined by the Commission...92 Appendix I...94 The Mayor s Letter...94 Appendix II...96 Design Team...96 Priority Work Grop Participants...96 Interview Participants...97 Appendix III...99 Consolidated Major Isses...99 Appendix IV Faith-Based Work Grop Participants Appendix V Homeless Client/Potential Client Interviews...104

2 Appendix VI Pbic Form Speakers Appendix VII Point-in-time Cont Janary 23, Appendix VIII Smmary of Recommendations and Action Steps Appendix IX Pblic Fnding Appendix X Recommendation Implementation Timetable...118

3 Letter to Mayor Shirley Franklin March 24, 2003 Mayor Shirley Franklin City of Atlanta 55 Trinity Avene, S.W. Atlanta, GA Dear Mayor Franklin: On behalf of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and each of the members of the Commission on Homelessness, and in response to yor reqest of November 1, 2002 for a practical action plan to gide the City in assisting or homeless citizens to become self-reliant, we sbmit this letter and the enclosed report entitled Bleprint to End Homelessness in Atlanta in Ten Years. In developing the plan, we were gided by yor admonition that the homeless have a personal responsibility to overcome their crrent sitation, and at the same time we as a society have an eqal obligation to make sre that services are available to assist the homeless in making the transition to self-reliance. We have also attempted to honor yor reqest for specific, practical and fndable soltions. We draw yor attention to several aspects of the report. First, yo will note that a nmber of the projects focs on the necessity to develop spportive hosing. Spportive hosing is transitional or permanent hosing linked to onsite social services. This type of hosing is provided for individals with long histories of shelter se, many of whom sffer from drg dependency, mental or physical health problems or both. It is estimated nationally that the 10% of the homeless poplation who fall into this category tilize over 50% of the fnding devoted to serving homeless individals. Secondly, yo will note an emphasis on prevention. To have a sccessfl program, it is necessary to prevent as many of or citizens as possible from becoming homeless. Third, yo will note projects aimed at moving individals and families more expeditiosly into permanent affordable hosing by providing the services necessary to minimize their stay in the homeless system. The recommended projects constitte a fll range of services and facilities necessary to serve the complex needs of or homeless citizens often referred to as a complete Continm of Care. In or report, we organized the recommended projects according to the components of the Continm of Care to which each relates. In the Addendm to this letter, we indicate the priority that we give to these projects. We cation, however, that mch homelessness is a direct reslt of a shortage of permanent low cost hosing and the inability of very low income people to afford the hosing that is available. To completely end homelessness, it will be necessary to address this hosing shortage. Althogh the affordable hosing isse was beyond the scope of this Commission s work, we are recommending the creation of a task force to frther explore policies designed to make more affordable hosing available to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. We recommend the creation of a Regional Athority. We strongly believe that the most effective soltion to homelessness in the metropolitan area will come from the coordination, planning and resorces that can be provided by a Regional Athority, and we are volnteering to take the lead in coordinating the establishment of sch an athority. The concept of a region-wide approach was strongly endorsed for years ago in a report prepared by the Atlanta Regional Commission after a year long stdy of homelessness. Also, the Regional Athority approach in Savannah/Chatham Conty has reslted in a decrease in homelessness by over forty-five percent. 1

4 Dring or work, we became aware of two existing facilities the City owned Annex at Garnett and Pryor Streets and the Center at Peachtree & Pine operated by the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless that cold meet the needs of at least two of or important recommendations: the 24/7 Service Center (see page 27 of the Report) and the Regional Administrative and Services Offices (see page 56 of the Report). We asked a committee of the Commission to look at both facilities with those two projects in mind. The Committee reported that both facilities cold be sed for each of the two projects. We then got preliminary constrction estimates for preparing each of the facilities for the projects. We were told that the cost of preparing the Annex to be the 24/7 Service Center wold be sbstantially less than the cost of preparing the facility at Peachtree & Pine to be sch a center. Accordingly, we ask that yo hold any decision on the ftre se of the Annex facility pending more detailed stdy of that facility for the 24/7 Service Center. Of 2267 homeless persons who sed a shelter in the City on Janary 23, 2003, almost one third (over 700) were hosed in the Center at Peachtree & Pine becase there was no other place for them to go. Becase or society has not provided sfficient hosing, some years ago, the leaders of the Center, in a departre from their original mission, decided to provide overflow shelter so as to to leave no one otside. As the homeless poplation in the City grew, this policy reslted in hndreds of men depending on that Center for shelter each night. This large nmber has strained the staff and other resorces of the Center with the reslt that the residents of that Center are not receiving the fll range of assistance they need, the Center has been nable to achieve its original mission, and significant friction has developed between that Center and the neighborhood. We believe that a 24/7 Service Center located at the Annex will greatly redce the demand for the Center at Peachtree & Pine as an overflow shelter. The 24/7 Service Center will allow that crrent overflow poplation who have mental illness or are mltiply diagnosed to choose a shelter where the services needed by those persons are available to facilitate their retrn to a self-sfficient life. Discssions with the Board and management of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless lead s to believe that their Center wold welcome the opportnity to refer clients to another service center that can provide them the fll range of appropriate services. We recommend that the proposed 24/7 Service Center and the Center at Peachtree & Pine cooperate to ensre that clients of Peachtree & Pine are referred to the 24/7 Service Center where the fll range of needed services is available. This wold also allow the Board of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless to flfill more flly its original mission as the operator of the Homeless Hotline, a Resorce Center and a provider of transitional hosing, transportation and otreach. We spport and recommend that the City and commnity spport the Center at Peachtree & Pine and the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless for those prposes. We have been greatly impressed by the excellent work crrently being done by service providers, governments, the faith commnity, and others, and by the interest and concern shown for those who are homeless by the bsiness commnity, fondations and the commnity at large. At one of or pblic hearings, a woman made a very brief bt important statement: Show me the money! The overwhelming concern for or homeless citizens that we encontered in all qarters, gives s great confidence that the resorces and spport necessary to carry ot the enclosed plan will be forthcoming from the pblic and private sectors working together. In making the recommendations, we have attempted to follow yor sggestion that those who find themselves withot a home shold be treated with both compassion and a sense of accontability. Finally, we thank yo for the opportnity to serve yo and or great City to reach ot to those in need. Sincerely, Mark O Connell President, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Horace H. Sibley Chair, Commission on Homelessness 2

5 Acknowledgements from the Chair The report Bleprint to End Homelessness in Atlanta in Ten Years cold not have been prepared withot the inpt, spport, and gidance of many nselfish people and organizations. Thanks are extended to the Commissioners for their leadership and contribtions of time and expertise in the development of the Action Plan. They operated with a combined sense of rgency and caring in their charge of developing an implementable plan for the Mayor of Atlanta to alleviate the problems associated with homelessness. Special thanks go to participants of the Work Grops for their tireless efforts throghot the process. They gave of their time and expertise to ensre that the Action Plan accrately reflected isses regarding homelessness and to contribte inpt from their hands-on experiences in the homeless field that wold lead to development of the most effective soltions. A detailed list of the grop participants is inclded in Appendices II and IV of this report. The grop topics were: Chronic Homelessness De to Physical and Mental Disabilities Chronic Homelessness De to Addictive Disorders Temporary Homelessness Thanks also go to the 76 homeless people and people vlnerable to becoming homeless who provided comments in interviews. Thanks are also expressed to the sbject experts/stakeholders who provided invalable inpt throgh interviews, as well as to those individals who attended meetings, sbmitted comments, or provided other help. Special thanks are also de to the following for their excellent, oft times herclean, efforts and work in spporting the Commission on Homelessness. Mark O Connell Chris Allers Allison Ashe Regina Cannon Khrram Hassan Brenda Marshall Diane McCants Teri Smith Mtamanika Yongblood CEO & President, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Vice President, United Way 211; Leader of the Spport Team for the Commission Special Projects, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Priority Work Grop Coordinator, Commission on Homelessness Director, Impact Measrement, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Commission Coordinator, Commission on Homelessness Investments Project Coordinator, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Director, Pblic Relations, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Senior Vice President, Commnity Impact, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Thanks to the following organizations that spported Bleprint to End Homelessness in Atlanta in Ten Years by allowing their representatives to participate in the planning process or by providing other pro bono assistance. Fletcher, Martin, & Ewing Deloitte Conslting 3

6 Glencastle Constrction HomeAid Atlanta King & Spalding LLP Homeward, Inc. 4

7 Exective Smmary Backgrond Dring 2001, the ndplicated homeless poplation in Atlanta was estimated at 12,000 persons. In November 2002, the Mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, decided to address the isses srronding homelessness head-on. By letter to Mark O Connell, President United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, (see Appendix I) Mayor Franklin expressed her belief that those who are homeless shold be treated both with compassion and a sense of accontability ; and she called pon United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta to create a working grop of concerned leaders and experts on homelessness to develop an action plan to enable her to address homelessness in the City. Mayor Franklin reqested that the plan be practical and innovative; she asked for a plan that can be implemented as soon as possible and gide the City in the long-term. The Mayor asked the Commission to address the following matters: Review previos stdies Analyze the crrent homeless poplation Analyze the spply of services, inclding location, capacity, hors of operation Assess the crrent ability of provider agencies to expand their services Analyze service levels mandated by government entities Analyze fnding sorces Provide an action plan to inclde specific projects, costs and measrable reslts The prpose of this report is to respond to Mayor Franklin s reqest. The Commission on Homelessness In accordance with Mayor Franklin s reqest, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta established a Commission on Homelessness whose members are: Chair Horace Sibley Retired Partner, King & Spalding Co-Chairs Myrtle Davis Former City Concil Member Dr. Lois Sllivan President Emerits Morehose School of Medicine 5

8 Members Bill Bolling Exective Director Atlanta Commnity Food Bank Jack Hardin Partner Rogers & Hardin Archie Hill Director Fannie Mae Atlanta Partnership Office Lara Keenan Director, Commnity Development Bank of America Jim Laney President Emerits Emory University Randy Merrill Senior Vice President CB Richard Ellis Tim Mescon Dean, Coles College of Bsiness Kennesaw State University Reverend James Milner Commnity Concerns Carl Patton President Georgia State University Ed Renford President Grady Health System William Riley Jdge Atlanta Commnity Cort Dr. Joseph Roberts Senior Pastor Ebenezer Baptist Chrch Gary Thompson CEO Georgia Banking Wachovia Bank, N.A. Process Smmary The 16-member Commission was formally constitted on December 9, At the initial meeting Commissioners reviewed three 2002 reports pertaining to homelessness. (Exhibits A-C) The Continm of Care Report for the Atlanta Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative, Spring 2002 The Ten-Year Plan to Eliminate Homelessness in Georgia (Georgia Policy Academy, 2002) Recommendations for the Mayor s Action Plan for Alleviating Homelessness (Homeward, Inc, 2002) In addition to these docments, the Commission also sed the 1998 Atlanta Regional Commission s report, The Homeless Action Plan: A Regional Framework for Addressing Homelessness (Exhibit D). The athors of these docments were a part of the Design Team (Appendix II) that worked with United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta staff to identify eight reoccrring service themes affecting the lives of persons experiencing homelessness. These reoccrring themes inclde: otreach to the chronically homeless, mainstream benefits assistance, permanent spportive hosing, alternative sentencing, addictive disorders treatment, prevention assistance, early intervention and renification services. The eight identified themes were clstered into three working grop topics: chronic homelessness de to physical and mental disabilities, chronic homelessness de to addictive disorders, and temporary homelessness. 6

9 Work Grops More than 90 individals representing 64 organizations participated in one or more of the 18 workgrop sessions (Appendix II). Work grop members generated major isses statements (Appendix III) that formed the basis for the 10 Commnity Goals presented in this report. Work grops reviewed interview data collected from over 40 sbject expert/stakeholders (Appendix II) and identified specific project or policy recommendations for the Commission s review. Commnity Inpt In addition to work grop and interview data, inpt was collected from a nmber of diverse sorces. Comments were collected via the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Commission on Homelessness website ( and telephone contacts. A Faith Advisory Grop facilitated by Reverend Jim Milner and Mtamanika Yongblood was comprised of thirty-three (33) representatives from faith-based organizations and instittions and reviewed the draft recommendations for participation and partnership opportnities. The list of participants is provided in Appendix IV. Seventy-six (76) client interviews were condcted and a smmary of the reslts is provided in Appendix V. Thirty-nine (39) persons presented concerns, recommendations and general comments dring the pblic forms offered at reglar Commission Meetings or dring the pblic hearing held on Febrary 13, Those persons are listed in Appendix VI. Components of a Continm of Care The U.S. Department of Hosing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a Continm of Care as a local or regional system that provides the resorces reqired to move a homeless person to selfsfficiency. Bilding on that definition, the Commission added a new component prevention to the existing six, and adopted this system as being necessary to prevent homelessness and meet the diverse needs of individals and families experiencing homelessness: Prevention Otreach, intake, and assessment Emergency shelter Transitional spportive hosing Spportive services Permanent spportive hosing Permanent affordable hosing Commnity Goals Recommended By the Commission Within the framework of the Continm of Care set forth above, the Commission adopted ten (10) commnity goals to ensre the most effective tilization of resorces and services for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. The goals are: 7

10 Goal A: Enlist the spport of all adjoining metropolitan Atlanta conties to meet the needs of their homeless residents in creating services that provide individals and families with effective otreach, benefits assistance, spportive hosing, addiction treatment, prevention assistance, early intervention and renification services. Goal B: Ensre that all persons who are living within the City of Atlanta have access to emergency shelter and other hmane services within 12 hors of a reqest for assistance. Goal C: Ensre that persons with addictive diseases/disorders and mental illness incarcerated by the City of Atlanta have access to commnity cort services, as appropriate. Goal D: Ensre that all homeless and disabled City of Atlanta residents have access to permanent spportive hosing resorces. Goal E: Ensre that all homeless and at risk residents of the City of Atlanta have access to a seamless sbstance abse continm of care. Goal F: Ensre that City of Atlanta residents who are facing eviction/foreclosre have access to appropriate services and assistance to prevent nnecessary displacement of individals and families. Goal G: Ensre that all homeless and at risk persons who wish to be renited with verified family or spport systems be provided the opportnity to do so. Goal H: Ensre that all persons experiencing homelessness who are mentally ill, physically disabled or mltiply diagnosed and living in the City of Atlanta have effective assistance within 3 working days of a reqest to access or maintain government entitlement benefits. Goal I: Ensre that all City of Atlanta homeless or at risk residents are provided seamless coordination of services extending from onset of first contact with the service system (e.g., street otreach, admittance to a hospital, arrest by law enforcement, etc.) to hosing. Goal J: Ensre that all segments of the commnity (e.g., law enforcement, government officials, bsinesses, residents, hospitals, service providers) receive comprehensive edcation regarding the homeless and the services available to the homeless. Recommended Strategies for Atlanta s Continm of Care To address each of the components of the Continm of Care and the ten Commnity Goals adopted by the Commission, the Commission recommends 29 strategies: Prevention Strategies Foreclosre/ Eviction Prevention Renification Assistance Expansion Otreach/Intake/A ssessment St rat egies 24/7 Drop-in Center Yoth Crisis Center Sbstance Abse Rapid Response Team Commnity Cort Expansion 8

11 Emergency Shelter St rat egies 24/7 Center/Shelter (300 beds/nits) Yoth Crisis Center/Shelter (30 beds/nits) Atlanta Family Hospitality Project (30 nits) United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Family Shelter Initiative (300 nits, 250 otside City of Atlanta) Transitional H osing St rat egies Hope Hose Shelter-A-Family, Faith Commnity Initiative Permanent Spport ive Hosing Strategies Spportive Hosing Prodction Task Force 50+ Units of Single Room Occpancy Spportive Hosing (O Hern Hose Replication) Santa Fe Villas Spportive Services Strategies Regional Administrative and Services Offices Harris Conty Replication Project (Intensive case management pilot project for freqently instittionalized homeless persons) In-cstody Sbstance Abse Programs Homeless Information Center Pblic Facilities Implementation Team Employment Opportnities Task Force Benefits Assistance Coordination Task Force Addictive Diseases and Dal Diagnosis Continm of Care Task Force Permanent A ffordable Hosing Strategies Workforce Hosing Task Force Systems Strategies Regional Homeless Athority Professional Training and Commnity Edcation Regional Smmit on Homelessness 9

12 Homeless Management Information System Homeless Censs and Srvey Pre-release Assistance Task Force Hospitalization Discharge Referral Protocol Task Force With respect to each of the strategies, the Commission recommends specific actions to be taken by Mayor Franklin and others. These actions are set forth in the body of the report. As the Mayor s letter recognized, the state and federal governments mst play a key role in any sccessfl action plan, and the Commission has conclded that the most effective plan mst approach homelessness from a regional basis. Accordingly, althogh not specifically reqested by the Mayor, the Commission strongly recommends the creation of a Regional Athority on Homelessness to develop and execte a long range planning process for coordinating and fnding care to homeless individals and families in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The Commission believes that if the recommended strategies are implemented, the City will have made significant progress toward flfilling its obligation, as expressed by the Mayor, to make sre that services are available to assist the homeless in making the transition to self-reliance. The Commission concrs with the Mayor s conclsion that for too long society has not done its part. It is now time for society to do its part. 10

13 The Report Backgrond Dring 2001, the ndplicated homeless poplation in Atlanta was estimated at 12,000 persons. In November 2002, the Mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, decided to address the isses srronding homelessness head-on. By letter to Mark O Connell, President United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, (see Appendix I) Mayor Franklin expressed her belief that those who are homeless shold be treated both with compassion and a sense of accontability ; and she called pon United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta to create a working grop of concerned leaders and experts on homelessness to develop an action plan to enable her to address homelessness in the City. Mayor Franklin reqested that the plan be practical and innovative; she asked for a plan that can be implemented as soon as possible and gide the City in the long-term. The Mayor asked the Commission to address the following matters: Review previos stdies Analyze the crrent homeless poplation Analyze the spply of services, inclding location, capacity, hors of operation Assess the crrent ability of provider agencies to expand their services Analyze service levels mandated by government entities Analyze fnding sorces Provide an action plan to inclde specific projects, costs and measrable reslts The prpose of this report is to respond to Mayor Franklin s reqest. The Commission on Homelessness In accordance with Mayor Franklin s reqest, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta established a Commission on Homelessness whose members are: Chair Horace Sibley Retired Partner, King & Spalding Co-Chairs Myrtle Davis Former City Concil Representative Dr. Lois Sllivan President Emerits Morehose School of Medicine 11

14 Members Bill Bolling Exective Director Atlanta Commnity Food Bank Jack Hardin Partner Rogers & Hardin Archie Hill Director Fannie Mae Atlanta Partnership Office Lara Keenan Director, Commnity Development Bank of America Jim Laney President Emerits Emory University Randy Merrill Senior Vice President CB Richard Ellis Reverend James Milner Commnity Concerns Carl Patton President Georgia State University Ed Renford President Grady Health System William Riley Jdge Atlanta Commnity Cort Dr. Joseph Roberts Senior Pastor Ebenezer Baptist Chrch Gary Thompson CEO Georgia Banking Wachovia Bank, N.A. Tim Mescon Dean, Coles College of Bsiness Kennesaw State University Process Process Smmary The 16 member Commission was formally constitted on December 9, The Commission on Homelessness work process is otlined in the diagram below. Diagram 1: Commission on Homelessness Work Process Mayor Franklin s Letter Initial Reports Identified: - Tri-J, 10-Year, - Homeward, Inc., HAP Priority Themes Identified King & Spalding UWMA Board Key Corporations Government Fondations Entities Deloitte Research Crrent Fnding Analysis Inpt Interviews Comments Commnications Committee Implementation Team Client Interviews Faith Advisory Grop Project Recommendations Pblic Form Commission Priority Work Grops 12

15 At the initial meeting Commissioners reviewed three 2002 reports pertaining to homelessness. The Continm of Care Report for the Atlanta Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative, Spring 2002 The Ten-Year Plan to Eliminate Homelessness in Georgia (Georgia Policy Academy, 2002) Recommendations for the Mayor s Action Plan for Alleviating Homelessness (Homeward, Inc, 2002). In addition to these docments, the commission also considered the 1998 Atlanta Regional Commission s report, The Homeless Action Plan: A Regional Framework for Addressing Homelessness. The athors of these docments worked with United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta staff to identify eight reoccrring service themes affecting the lives of persons experiencing homelessness. These reoccrring themes are access to mainstream services and benefits programs, spportive hosing services and facilities, otreach, sbstance abse treatment services, alternative sentencing options, prevention and intervention services, renification services, and early intervention. The eight identified themes were clstered and three work grops were formed: chronic homelessness de to physical and mental disabilities, chronic homelessness de to addictive disorders, and temporary homelessness. More than 90 individals representing 64 organizations participated in one or more of the 18 work-grop sessions. Over 100 major isses statements were generated and those with 95% agreement by work grop members are presented. Major isses statements generally were connected to one of five reoccrring themes: Inadeqate service capacity to meet consmer needs; Inadeqate resorces to spport existing or expanded services; Leadership grops are not empowered to address regional system and service isses; Insfficient pblic edcation and professional training efforts; Some pblic policies prevent the reasonable development of services and the effective coordination of resorces. Inpt Systems At the Mayor s reqest, representatives from both the philanthropic and faith commnities and from the state and federal governments, as well as concerned individals, were part of the inpt process. Commnity Inpt Comments were collected via the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Commission on Homelessness website ( and telephone contacts. A Faith Advisory Grop facilitated by Reverend Jim Milner and Mtamanika Yongblood was comprised of thirty-three (33) representatives from faith-based organizations and instittions and reviewed the draft recommendations for opportnities for participation and partnership. Seventy-six (76) homeless individals were interviewed and a smmary of the reslts is provided in Appendix V. Thirty-nine (39) persons presented concerns, recommendations and general comments dring the pblic forms offered at reglar Commission Meetings or dring the pblic hearing held on Febrary 13,

16 Research Inpt The Commission on Homelessness addressed the six (6) areas of research recommended by the Mayor as follows: 1. Review of previos stdies The Commission on Homelessness began the discovery process by reviewing existing stdies condcted locally, regionally and in major cities across the contry. Reports reviewed inclde: The Continm of Care Report for the Atlanta Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative, Spring 2002 (Exhibit A) This docment presents an overview of the stats (as of Spring 2002) of the Continm of Care for the Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative: the City of Atlanta, Flton Conty, and DeKalb Conty. The Continm of Care is a commnity-based plan for providing assistance to homeless persons and those at risk of becoming homeless. The plan covers the spectrm of programs and services for this poplation, from homeless prevention efforts throgh emergency shelter and services for homeless persons on the street, in transitional hosing, re-hosing to stabilization in permanent hosing. State of Georgia Homeless Action Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Ten Years (DCA 2002) (Exhibit B) On September 14, 2001 the State of Georgia sbmitted an application to participate in the first federally sponsored Policy Academy for State and Local Policymakers on Improving Access to Mainstream Services for Persons Who Are Homeless. The contents of this report otline the goals and action steps that the Georgia policy team believes will enable the State to flly access the federal resorces that will be necessary to end chronic homelessness in Georgia in the next decade. Recommendations for the Mayor s Action Plan for Alleviating Homelessness, Homeward, Inc. (Exhibit C) The staff, Board, and Advisory Concil of Homeward, Inc. and the Mayor s Faith-based Rond Table presented this set of recommendations to the Mayor of Atlanta in The docment presents the elements that these grops viewed as essential to a comprehensive approach in the alleviation of homelessness in Atlanta. These recommendations evolved from the work already nderway toward implementing the Homeless Action Plan (HAP) which had been developed throgh an intensive region-wide planning process in The high qality and timeliness of the three reports enabled the Commission to directly extract information and to focs on strategies that address concerns presented by the reports athors. In addition to the reports listed above, the Commission also reviewed the Homeless Action Plan (Atlanta Regional Commission, 1998) and the progress pdate to this report (Homeward, Inc., Homeless Action Plan Update, 2003) (Exhibit E). This evalation showed significant progress made in several areas. Some projects, which have yet to be flly realized as envisioned in the 1998 report, are recommended in this report. Interviews with participants from the Homeless Action Plan process identified that crrent planning and leadership grops, while serving an important role, lack the fll direction and participation of local, regional, and state policy makers who have decision-making and resorce athority. Staff reviewed the homeless action plans of other metropolitan commnities. These reports inclde: Bleprint to Break the Cycle of Homelessness and Prevent Ftre Homelessness, Memphis/Shelby Conty Mayor s Task Force on Homelessness 14

17 Bleprint to End Homelessness: A Vision for Ending Homelessness in Indianapolis, The Bleprint to End Homelessness Committee Bleprint to End Homelessness in New York City, Spportive Hosing Network of New York Miami-Dade Conty Commnity Homeless Plan, Miami-Dade Conty Homeless Trst Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, Los Angeles Homeless Services Athority 2002 Report to the Commnity, The Commnity Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, Washington, DC. Hosing and Homeless Needs Assessment: Annal Action Plan for , City of Phoenix This review yielded comparison service models for evalating the strategies in this report. Additionally, themes identified in these reports spported the Commission discovery process. Common recommendations fond in these reports inclde: Adopt the principles of the Ten Year Plan to Eliminate Homelessness Adopt the Continm of Care model in designing and evalating service systems Bild permanent spportive hosing for individals and families experiencing homelessness and sffering from a major mental illness Improve service coordination and data collection systems Establish commnity goals and execte plans to resolve service isses Establish strong pblic/private partnerships in order to spport commnity goals. 2. Analysis of the C rrent Homeless Poplation For this analysis the Commission reviewed data from the following two sorces: 2002 Gaps Analysis (The Continm of Care Report for the Atlanta Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative, Spring 2002 See Exhibit A, Page 16) Two primary sorces, a Research Atlanta report and the City s inventory of homeless services, were sed to develop the Gaps Analysis chart for the SperNOFA, which compares existing services and beds to homeless poplation need. Point-in-time cont in city shelters On Janary 23, 2003, the City experienced the coldest temperatres in the past decade. It is believed that city shelters handled a record nmber of persons with approximately 1700 beds available to serve 2267 persons (Appendix VII). It is important to note that this nmber does not inclde homeless persons who were incarcerated, hospitalized or who remained encamped in the commnity. An emerging effort in the Tri-Jrisdictional area that will help in obtaining an accrate cont of the homeless poplation and in pdating a Gaps Analysis in the ftre is the Homeless Censs. Homeless Censs The Tri-jrisdiction Continm of Care Committee, Homeward, Inc., Pathways Commnity Network, and nmeros commnity based service organizations have partnered with the City of 15

18 Atlanta to condct the first homeless censs in Flton and DeKalb conties. This cont will be made dring March 2003 and will serve as a baseline for estimating the size of key target poplations. Recommendations in the Action Plan spport contined censs activities to frther define seasonal and annal estimates of service need. 3. Analysis of Spply of Services The Continm of Care Report for the Atlanta Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative, Spring 2002 provides an inventory of homeless residential programs and spport services (Exhibit A. Page 30). This report identified 107 organizations providing services to residents in Flton, DeKalb and the City of Atlanta. The United Way 211 City Services Directory provides a description of the organizations and services provided to the City s homeless poplation (Exhibit F). This description incldes location of services, hors of operation and eligibility reqirements. Based on an initial analysis of this information, services wold appear to be available, accessible and sfficient for city residents. However, City services also provide assistance to persons from neighboring commnities, and those services are nable to meet the needs of both city and regional consmers. Additionally, depending on the type of service needed, between 40% 90% of key metro Atlanta social services are located within the City limits. Heavily centralized services inclde emergency shelters (especially for single men and women), permanent spportive hosing, healthcare, mental health services, alternative sentencing, sbstance abse treatment, benefits assistance and otreach. Decentralized services throghot the Metropolitan Atlanta region inclde prevention services (emergency financial assistance), transitional hosing, renification assistance and shelters for battered persons and children. The Commission adopted the Tri-Jrisdictional Collaborative s estimates of insfficient services to address the regional need for otreach, spportive hosing, sbstance abse treatment, early intervention, and prevention assistance. 4. Analysis of Crrent Ability of Provider Agencies to Expand Services All service providers interviewed or participating in work grops reported diminishing service capacity as a reslt of diminishing revenes. Providers report anticipated redctions in operating income to be 15 40% less compared to Government, bsiness and civic leaders will need to monitor and address the probable redction of critical commnity-based social services in the next months. However, service providers also report the ability to sbstantially increase service delivery if provided with the necessary financial resorces. Strategy recommendations presented in the Action Plan will increase service capacity in the areas of otreach, spportive hosing, benefits assistance, alternative sentencing, sbstance abse treatment, prevention, early intervention and renification. Providers listed as participating in each strategy are perceived as having the capacity to participate in the effort if provided with the necessary financial or in-kind resorces. However, the list of participating organizations shold be expanded as the Action Plan is frther refined and implemented. 5. Analysis of service levels mandated by government ent ities A review of service levels mandated by government entities yielded little information abot mandated services. In general, service levels for programs assisting persons experiencing homelessness are not mandated at the local, regional or state level. While it is common for government-fnded programs to have program service goals, mandated service levels were not fond. It is recommended that the isse of mandated service levels contine to be researched. 6. Analysis of fnding sorces A srvey of over 50 commnity-based organizations provided data sed to estimate the percentage of crrent level of fnding for Atlanta services to the homeless by income sorce. The majority of 16

19 fnding (49%) comes from pblic sorces. Pblic fnding amonts are provided in Appendix IX. On average, 35% of service organization fnding comes from private sorces and 16% comes from earned income, special events or investment income. In 2002, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta invested more than $8 million dollars in programs serving homeless or at risk city residents. A list of local fondations contribting to services or organizations in the area of homelessness will be provided in a spplemental report. Based on the data gathered, pblic fnding represents the primary sorce of renewable income for commnity-based organizations serving homeless persons. Fondation giving tends to be geared toward capital projects and not a reliable sorce of operating income. 17

20 Continm of Care Smmary The Commission on Homelessness adopted the Continm of Care, with the addition of a prevention component and an overarching systems element, to frame the goals and strategies to alleviate homelessness in the city of Atlanta. The Evalation of Continms of Care for Homeless People developed by the U. S. Department of Hosing and Urban Development defines the Continm of Care as a local or regional system for helping people who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness by providing hosing and services appropriate to the whole range of homeless needs in the commnity, from homeless prevention to emergency shelter to permanent hosing. In 1995, the Department of Hosing and Urban Development (HUD) implemented the Continm of Care approach to streamline the existing competitive fnding and grant-making process nder the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and to encorage commnities to coordinate more flly the planning and provision of hosing and services for homeless. The Continm of Care is designed to provide the resorces reqired to move a homeless person to self-sfficiency. The Continm of Care has the following components otreach and assessment, emergency shelter, transitional hosing, appropriate spportive services, permanent spportive hosing, and permanent hosing. Emergency prevention services are designed to provide timely assistance to people who are at risk of becoming homeless. The types of preventive services inclde emergency rent, mortgage, and tility assistance, financial and bdget management, credit conseling and repair services, and hosing conseling services. Otreach and assessment services are an array of tools designed to determine the most appropriate form of treatment and services that are therapetic and delivered directly to the individal otside of traditional service delivery locations. They involve connecting individals to existing service providers and typically focs on those mentally ill individals who are not aware of vital services or who are mentally or emotionally prevented from accessing mainstream homeless services. Emergency shelters have become critical resorces for commnities working with homeless people and serve as the point of entry into the homeless assistance system. The shelters focs primarily on assisting those confronted with an immediate loss of hosing or those who are already homeless and have an official length of stay ranging from 1 to 60 days depending on the individal program. Transitional hosing programs are sitations that offer opportnities and comprehensive services for p to 24 months in an effort to assist the homeless persons in obtaining a level of self-sfficiency. Permanent spportive hosing is safe, decent, affordable hosing that provides the necessary spport services to enable formerly homeless persons with special needs to live independently. Options of service in permanent spportive hosing are designed to meet the specific needs of clients. Spportive services are a key component of the Continm of Care particlarly in moving the homeless from transitional hosing to permanent hosing. They represent services and resorces which may or may not be linked to hosing and assist the homeless person in recovering from addiction and mental illness. Permanent affordable hosing represents hosing resorces dedicated to low-income individals and families. This hosing incldes federally sbsidized Section 8 project-based and certificate/vocher programs, pblic hosing, nonprofit-owned hosing and other nonprofit operated site-based programs, as well as ongoing rental assistance programs. 18

21 Diagram 2: Continm of Care Commnity Goals Recommended By the Commission Within the framework of the Continm of Care set forth above, the Commission adopted ten (10) commnity goals to insre the most effective tilization of resorces and services for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. The goals are: Goal A: Enlist the spport of all adjoining metropolitan Atlanta conties withot adeqate capacity to meet the needs of their homeless and disabled residents in creating services that permit individals and families residing otside of the City of Atlanta with effective otreach, benefits assistance, spportive hosing, alternative sentencing, addiction treatment, prevention assistance, early intervention and renification services. Goal B: Ensre that all persons who are living within the city of Atlanta have access to emergency shelter and other spportive services within 12 hors of a reqest for assistance. Goal C: Ensre that persons with addictive diseases/disorders and mental illness incarcerated by the City of Atlanta have access to commnity cort services, as appropriate. Goal D: Ensre that all homeless and at risk persons who wish to be renited with verified family or spport systems be provided the opportnity to do so (either locally or ot of the region). Goal E: Ensre that all homeless and disabled City of Atlanta residents have access to permanent spportive hosing resorces. Goal F: Ensre that all homeless and at risk residents of the City of Atlanta have access to a seamless sbstance abse continm of care. Goal G: Ensre that all city of Atlanta residents are provided early access to foreclosre/eviction prevention services to prevent nnecessary displacement of individals and families. Goal H: Ensre that all homeless who are mentally ill, physically disabled or mltiply diagnosed individals living in the City of Atlanta have effective assistance within 3 working days of a reqest to access or maintain government entitlement benefits. Goal I: Ensre that all City of Atlanta homeless or at risk residents are provided seamless coordination of services extending from onset of the first contact with service system (e.g., street otreach, admittance to a hospital, arrest by law enforcement, etc.) to hosing. 19

22 Goal J: Ensre that all segments of the commnity (e.g., law enforcement, government, neighborhoods) receive comprehensive edcation regarding the homeless, focsing on diversity, sbstance abse, mental illness, mltiple diagnosed and other isses. 20

23 Action Plan In combination with inpt from mltiple and diverse sorces as detailed in the work process diagram, the Commission developed the Continm of Care Action Plan. This Action Plan incldes recommended strategies for the Continm of Care, otlining action steps, costs, timetables, and measrable reslts. A smmary of the recommendations and action steps are provided in Appendix VIII. The listing of potential fnding sorces for each strategy is not an exhastive list; there may be other sorces after the strategy has been endorsed and contines to be developed. The bdget estimates are preliminary figres and may change after frther analysis. The timeframe for each strategy is approximate and depends pon endorsement and ability to secre resorce fnding. (Appendix X) The potential strategy partner list is not intended to be all-inclsive or to exclde others who are willing to participate in a particlar strategy. 21

24 Continm of Care Prevention Strategies Foreclosre/Eviction Prevention Renification Assistance Expansion 22

25 Foreclosre/Eviction Prevention Project Primary Isse: City homeowners and apartment dwellers are being nnecessarily displaced de to inadeqate prevention resorces and systems. Project Description: This project will increase the pool of fnds necessary to provide financial assistance for mortgage and tilities. Additional intervention services cold inclde intensive case management, legal services, credit/debt conseling, financial management training, mediation and langage translation assistance, and hosing conseling. Recommendation: Increase the pool of fnds available to provide emergency financial assistance for rent, mortgage and tilities. Action Steps: Action Step 1 Reqest the Commission on Homelessness to develop an emergency financial assistance provider certification process and raise the operating resorces to ensre adeqate and professional prevention services. Action Step 2 Increase City fnding of prevention services as city resorces permit. Action Step 3 Consider establishing a city ombdsman/consmer advocate to assist residents facing foreclosre/eviction and link residents to a certified prevention organization. Potential Strategy Partner(s): The Sllivan Center Pathways Commnity Network Salvation Army Midtown Assistance Center Bckhead Christian Ministries United Way 211 Travelers Aid of Metropolitan Atlanta Flton Atlanta Commnity Action Agency St. Vincent de Pal Society Consmer Credit Conseling Service Georgia Law Center on Homelessness Atlanta Legal Aid Flton/DeKalb Magistrate Cort 23

26 Measrable Otcomes: Fewer homeless individals entering shelter system Decreased costs for providing assistance Increased school and work attendance Best Practices: Chicago Chicago Homeless Prevention Fnd & City Dept. of Hman Services New York Commnity Food Resorce Center Eviction Prevention Program Miami Miami-Dade Conty Homeless Trst Homeless Prevention Services Timeframe: Approximately 180 days Bdget: Annal Operating: $ M 24

27 Renification Assistance Expansion Primary Isse: Homeless newcomers and city residents are nable to be renified with local or ot-of-region spport systems de to limited provider training and insfficient transportation and staff resorces. Project Description: Renification assistance will be provided throgh casework and transportation to all homeless and at risk persons who wish to be renified with verified family or social spport systems. Follow-p will be condcted at both 3 and 6 months. Regional service delivery wold inclde organizations wishing to participate as a point of entry to renification services and be coordinated by Travelers Aid. Training wold be provided to agencies in assessing needs, facilitating placements and accessing renification financial assistance. Recommendation: Expand ot-of-region renification resorces to all persons experiencing homelessness as well as at risk persons who wish to be renified with verified family or social spport systems. Increase city service provider skill in assessing and facilitating renification. Action Steps: Action Step 1 Send a letter to Travelers Aid of Metropolitan Atlanta endorsing the need for renification services and spporting the expansion of existing services. Action Step 2 Reqest the Commission on Homelessness to establish qality standards for renification services, identify a niversity to develop professional training for service providers and raise the operating resorces to ensre adeqate and professional renification spport. Action Step 3 Direct all appropriate city fnded programs to participate in professional training in assessing renification needs, facilitating placements and accessing renification financial assistance. Potential Strategy Partner(s): Travelers Aid of Metropolitan Atlanta Resorce Opportnity Center Atlanta Union Mission United Way 211 Crossroads Commnity Ministries Atlanta City Jail Other homeless service providers Atlanta Commnity Cort Measrable Otcomes: 50% of all participants wold remain in their intended location and secrely hosed after 1 year 37% of all participants wold remain in their intended location after 2 years 25

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