We are pleased to feature a blog post from one of our Housing 1000 partners and leader of the Care Coordination Project, EHC LifeBuilders CEO Jenny Niklaus. Jenny discusses what the 100 day challenge means for EHC LifeBuilders AND for Housing 1000 clients.
What does it take to end someone’s homelessness? To remove them from sub-standard living conditions under freeways and along our creek banks? I am asked these questions all the time and the answer I always give is simple: permanent housing. Housing is the intervention, and the faster we get people into homes the better it is for them and for our community.
EHC LifeBuilders has the privilege of being the lead agency for the Care Coordination Project (CCP) of Housing 1000. We are coordinating the housing and service resources provided throughout the community. It’s challenging work—yet we and our partners decided to challenge ourselves even further by saying that we will house 257 chronically homeless people in 100 days. That is amazing! At EHC we have personally taken this goal to heart and transformed our chronically homeless services in order to house 60 of the 257. Our Program Manager Shelly Barbieri and her team have created Operation Housing 60. And they have trained other CCP agencies to do the same so we can all share this audacious goal and make it our own.
Operation Housing 60 has already housed three individuals and six more will be housed this week. People like Tom*, who fell into homelessness in 2008 after his divorce triggered a major depression that led to drug abuse. His untreated mental illness and addiction created a devastating spiral of homelessness and incarceration. While incarcerated, Tom learned to value his sobriety and received psychiatric stabilization that helped him leave with a renewed hope for the future. This past March he found the Housing 1000 program at EHC and moved into permanent housing 70 days later. He is now seeking employment and has reconnected with his two sons.
Tom’s story shows that this works! We will be successful in meeting our goal not just because we must respond to the needs of folks like Tom, but because as a provider community, we get it and we believe it can be done!
-Jenny Niklaus, CEO, EHC LifeBuilders