BRIDGE TO HOUSING FINAL REPORT (LINK HERE)
BRIDGE TO HOUSING OUTCOMES SUMMARY (LINK HERE)
Motivations for Bridge to Housing
In August 2014 the Bridge to Housing Pilot Project was initiated in response to four significant issues occurring simultaneously in the City of West Sacramento. 1) Homelessness was (and is) a significant issue throughout Yolo County. 2) West Sacramento had the highest rate of unsheltered homelessness throughout the County. 3) West Sacramento’s North Levee Encampment was the largest and most established encampment of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Yolo County. 4) The property along the North Levee was sold to a new owner, who requested that the area be cleared.
Convening a Collaborative Planning Process
After receiving the property owner’s request to clear the property of campers the West Sacramento Police Department (WSPD) reached out to representatives of public, private and faith-based agencies throughout Yolo County for help in addressing the issue. WSPD expressed an interest in developing a plan for clearing the encampment that would result in positive outcomes for all parties, including the people experiencing homelessness, the property owner and the City. WSPD convened a collaborative and comprehensive planning process that spanned more than two months, and included an extensive list of partners and participants.
Through this planning process the following framework for the Bridge to Housing Pilot Project was developed:
- The project would relocate all willing participants of the North Levee Encampment into a single motel for a period of approximately four months (from November 12 to February 28).
- Yolo County Housing would master lease a West Sacramento motel and provide property management services for the four month project, using a low-barriers Housing First model.
- The City of West Sacramento would notify all people living along the riverbank that they needed to vacate the encampment prior to the beginning of the project, and offer the project as an alternative to camping somewhere else.
- Participants would receive assistance in applying for Housing Choice Vouchers with Yolo County Housing, and would receive an additional preference point for vouchers due to being displaced from their previous home by government action.
- The County would provide intensive case management services to all participants with an emphasis on quickly securing a housing voucher and permanent housing.
Assessment, Outreach and Preparation
Three initial participant assessments were conducted in September and early October of 2014. These assessments were used as the basis for determining eligibility for the Bridge to Housing Pilot Project, by identifying the individuals who were stable residents of the North Levee Encampment. Following the initial assessments, outreach to residents of the encampment was conducted on a regular basis, to build relationships and to solicit input about the project.
All residents of the encampment were relocated on November 12, 2014. Those on the eligibility list for Bridge to Housing completed an intake process, including moving through a series of stations designed to address issues relating to hygiene, physical health, mental health and legal background, prior to being transported to the motel.
Over a period of 109 days (November 12th to February 28th) program participants received temporary housing at the motel coupled with intensive case management services. Yolo County Housing provided on-site property management, including a structured housing program. Intensive wraparound services were also provided to participants on-site through a variety of providers.
The primary focus of the Bridge to Housing Pilot Project was to secure permanent housing for participants. Due to the circumstances of the relocation from the riverbank, all participants who met federally mandated qualifications for vouchers (relating to income and criminal background) received prioritization on the voucher waitlist due to being displaced from the riverbank by government action.
After securing a housing voucher, participants were assisted in identifying and securing affordable housing that would allow them to use their voucher.