Street2Home

Street2Home

SOLUTIONS TO HOMELESSNESS

Together, we are changing lives and building futures.

Opening Doors Northwest Florida overarching goal is to leverage a comprehensive system response intended to ensure that homelessness is prevented whenever possible and, when homelessness cannot be prevented, to ensure that the experience is least harmful, brief, and non-recurring.

As the lead agency for the Continuum of Care serving Escambia and Santa Rosa County  Opening Doors NWFL has implemented a Coordinated Entry System (CES) which is a community-wide process designed to outreach and identify households experiencing homelessness, assess their needs, and prioritize access to programs and resources to end their homelessness. An effective coordinated entry process includes prioritization, Housing First orientation, emergency services, standardized assessment, referral to housing, outreach, and use of a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

Homelessness has become ever increasing and you may see more folks  on the street corners or living on the streets. To address people who are without a safe place to sleep,  Opening Doors NWFL has implemented a Streets2Home program to focus on empowering individuals and families who are ready to end their homelessness. 

Let us walk you through the Street2 Home (S2H) program

The (S2H) program is divided into three tiers:

Tier 1 - Street Outreach: An assigned Street Outreach Case Manager will utilize the Outreach Mobile Unit at least 3 days per week. The Mobile Unit will be set up in regularly designated areas within the two-county area which will allow the homeless community easier access to services. The case manager will be able to link client to services with the client present instead of having to locate the client again, which can often be difficult due to the transient nature of the homeless.

Tier 2 – Street2Home Program: In this newest initiative Street2Home  (S2H) case manager will focus on empowering individuals who are ready to end their homelessness. Clients will be referred through the (S2H). The case manager will provide intensive case management and life skills training for 60 days. The case manager will follow a structured schedule to link the individuals to the following areas:  housing, employment, medical, mental health, life skills, socialization, and basic needs.

At the end of the 60-day period, the goal is for each client to be housed and referred to the I-Care Program to begin self-sufficiency in their own home.  Resources will provide the initial rent and utility deposit, rent and utility deposit assistance up to 3 months. Many on fixed or no income are financially unable to provide the initial costs it takes to move from the streets into permanent housing.  Opening Doors NWFL relieves them of this burden by providing these initial costs.

Tier 3 –The I-Care case manager will continue the case management process after a client is housed to promote sustainability and self-sufficiency. The case manager will coordinate services, monitor client progress, and provide life skills education.  The case manager will assist the client in evaluating needs and completing a case plan to meet the agreed upon goals. Depending on the specific needs of the individual client, the client will receive the additional supportive services for up to 13 months.

Why do we feel this (S2H) program will be successful?

When hopeless people are continuously surrounded by hope they become more hopeful. They start to believe they can change.   Our program participants will have a case management team personally walk them through the system.  Our case managers are trained with the expertise and experience in addressing the needs of people without housing.  By participants enrolling they have the support of our case managers guiding them through the program to remove barriers people without housing face when complying with mainstream programs’ paperwork requirements and regularly communicating with agencies and service providers can be more difficult for a person who does not have a permanent address or a phone number.

Opening Doors NWFL realizes we cannot accomplish these goals alone.  We work  in direct partnership with the Lakeview Center (LCI) and Community Health Northwest Florida (CHNWF), Career Source EscaRosa . LCI provides mental health and psychiatric case management support, while CHNWF provides health care services Career Source will provide job search and development. Those that have been traumatized by homelessness need time to acquiesce to a safe and stable environment an environment that prepares them for deeper supportive services they need to become self-sufficient. Having the clinical and medical expertise of LCI and ECC have proven invaluable.  

Why is this program important to our community?

There are many rising concerns around homelessness. Some feel people without homes are a threat to our community and are concerned for their personal safety.  Others feel the threat is impacting economic development and tourism.  And then some feel people without housing are dehumanized especially those living with depression or schizophrenia and are treated in a demoralizing manner.  Residents, business owners, local government, law enforcement, health care and service providers are all looking for a solution to end homelessness.

The (S2H) program has been implemented to assist those who want to end their homelessness and move into a life of self-sufficiency.  The program will reduce the impact of the communities  social services, hospitals, and the legal system. A homelessness study from UWF HAAS revealed that the average annual cost to be homeless and cycling in and out of incarceration, emergency rooms and inpatient hospitalizations ranged from $25,000 to $50,000 per person. The (S2H) program is a solution with an immense return on investment to this community.

(S2H) has proven positive outcomes?

Opening Doors NWL does not just help people find a home. We help them keep it. Empowering our clients to build a positive relationship with their community.   For many of our clients we are like a family encouraging and supporting them through the transition of becoming housed and reintegrated into society. 

We are extremely thankful to our community partners who help us serve those who are most vulnerable within our community.  We are also grateful to landlords who are willing to give individuals with a criminal background or eviction history a second chance.    

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Opening Doors Outreach Team have been developing a trust relationship with over 150 people living in encampments and on the streets in our two-county continuum of care.   We have the real solution for those who want to end homelessness! 

We need your help to make Street2Home successful!

Within the past year Opening Doors has placed 25 people from the street to a home.  When this happens normally a person only has what they can carry or sometimes what is stored in their automobile.

The Street2Home program is under restricted funding which does not allow Opening Doors to purchase furniture, household supplies or cleaning materials.

We strive to have the basics before moving someone into their new home, however we can only accomplish this through the help of private citizens, corporations, churches, or organizations.

Our goal for 2021 is to house another 25 folks, we have recently housed 8 for 2021.  Every household will need the following basic items.  Households range from 1 to 10 people. However, our challenge is storage.  Our request is to grant us funding to allow our team to purchase beds and supplies as needed. 

Together, we can change lives and build futures.  Many clients tell us, “this is the first time in a long time they felt safe”.