We at the Alliance spend a lot of time training communities to prepare for the HEARTH Act. We work with communities to assess performance, revamp governance structures, and facilitate community planning. What we have found may not surprise you – changing the way homelessness assistance systems work is not an easy task. Most difficult is moving beyond action plans and hypotheticals to actual, concrete changes that make a difference in how quickly and effectively programs move people into permanent housing. Last week I discussed Alameda County CA’s prizes for high performing programs. Today I look at their recently announced “EveryOne Housed Academy.”
This is how the “EveryOne Housed Academy” will work: programs send a team including executive management, middle level management, and front line staff for a two day training that enables each team to translate best practices such as housing first, harm reduction, and trauma informed services into policies and procedures that will work in their programs to permanently house people more quickly. Teams will have the opportunity to evaluate everything about their operations, including signage in program spaces, shelter rules, case management approaches, job descriptions, etc., and they will leave the Academy with rewritten policies and a plan of action.
The EveryOne Housed Academy is being developed by an eight-person design team that includes providers, consumers, funders and EveryOne Home staff. Programs will have to apply for the Academy, with priority going to programs that serve the largest numbers. They hope to hold the first Academy in June, the second in September and eventually work with ten different agencies.