The Boulder County 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness is organized around six goals that are designed to have a significant impact on homelessness. Taken together, these goals represent a comprehensive approach that addresses all facets of homelessness by combining the development of a more efficient, effective and coordinated service delivery system with the provision of needed services and housing options. Below is a brief description of each goal.
- Prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless
While permanent housing solutions are needed to help individuals and families become self-sufficient once they are homeless, it is equally important that efforts are made to prevent the occurrence of homelessness whenever possible. This first goal focuses on the provision of preventive services to individuals and families who are at risk of becoming homeless due to life events such as a temporary loss of job, inability to pay for utilities or rent, or the need for some form of short term subsidy to maintain an existing living arrangement. It is further recognized that individuals leaving public institutions, such as prisons or the foster care system, or who are experiencing major life transitions, such as returning veterans, are at a higher risk of becoming homeless. The plan seeks to work with agency partners to better coordinate transition planning efforts and related services. Finally, many low income individuals and families are vulnerable to becoming homeless due to a lack of financial resources or other supports such as health insurance. A third key strategic area under this goal is to assist individuals and families with accessing and securing benefits to which they are entitled.
- Provide temporary shelter, alternative housing and supportive services for those who are temporarily homeless
The temporarily homeless are those who experience an acute homeless episode or have intermittent periods in which they need housing assistance and / or supportive services. With this support, these individuals and families are often able to move back quickly to a stable and self-supported living arrangement. The Boulder County 10-year plan addresses these populations through the provision of appropriate housing options, prevention strategies and supportive wrap-around services. Given the emergent nature of their need, the temporary homeless may also need short-term shelter services. This goal also focuses on the strategic management of shelter beds along with the development of overflow resources to ensure that emergency sheltering needs can be met with the most appropriate populations.
- Provide permanent housing with supportive services to meet the long-term needs of chronic homeless individuals
This plan is aligned with the Housing First Model which seeks to move homeless individuals and families into permanent supportive housing as quickly as possible. A chronically homeless individual is defined by the Federal Government as "an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years (reference)." These individuals frequently need multiple services in addition to a viable housing option. The Boulder County 10-year plan has a three part strategy for impacting Chronic Homelessness which includes the provision of permanent housing, needed services and the provision of effective outreach that is aimed at helping to identify and connect these individuals with needed services and housing.
- Develop and/or improve systems to support efficient and effective plan implementation
Implementation of this plan will require the addition of new resources that focus on significantly impacting homelessness in Boulder County. At the same time, there is much that can be done through the leveraging of existing resources and enacting improvements in their efficiency, effectiveness and coordination. This is made possible, in part, due to past planning efforts as well as ongoing infrastructure and program investments made by the local government. Key objectives under this goal are to support better information exchange, improve the coordination of services, develop and implement more effective case management and outreach efforts, and augment the use of cross-system data to focus government and non-profits systems in ways that have a more lasting impact on homelessness.
- Promote public awareness and advocacy
It is critical that the citizens of Boulder County stay fully informed about the changing nature of homelessness in Boulder County as well as efforts related to the implementation of this plan. This helps to maintain public confidence in activities related to plan implementation and also provides avenues for greater public participation. The plan developers recognize that they cannot fully solve the problem of homelessness on their own and that success requires participation from a variety of sectors including non-profits, faith-based organization, business, the larger community and the homeless population. The community awareness and advocacy efforts outlined in this goal are designed to galvanize relevant sectors in the County to ensure the plan receives ongoing community support.
- Implement an effective governance and staffing structure
Plans of this nature are difficult to implement and require support from a number of people and institutions to be successful. Implementation of Boulder County’s 10-year plan requires the development of a governance structure that will help to manage, oversee and guide the various strategic efforts outlined in the plan. This includes coordination and oversight of plan efforts, the strategic allocation of resource, review and improvement of plan contents, implementation of a project evaluation and securing financing for the plan.