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Supervisors: Homeless priorities set

In this 2012 photo from Community Alliance’s website, homeless people are shown in one encampment in Fresno. They said they’ve been told to move on by local police and business owners but are unsure of where to relocate where they could legally access drinking water, toilets and trash pickup. Fresno County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a list of priorities to start addressing homelessness in 2019.

FRESNO – The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has adopted a list of priorities to address homelessness throughout the County during the 2019 calendar year.

Fresno County led the effort to develop the following priorities in collaboration with the 15 incorporated cities within the County and the Directors of the County Departments of Behavioral Health, Public Health, and Social Services:

1. Address jurisdictional overlaps (local, State, Federal and private) collaboratively.

2. Increase transportation to outpatient programs and regular prenatal/medical care for pregnant and parenting women and children who are homeless.

3. Roving formalized coordinated community outreach in conjunction with law enforcement, through Fresno Madera Continuum of Care or otherwise, to ensure that efforts are aligned and data is tracked.

4. Assistance to build housing stock, increasing safe overnight housing (24-48 hours), and a centralized approach to single-room occupancy units.

5. Priority access to emergency housing for pregnant and parenting women and their children and to families with children with significant medical issues as it is difficult to manage the continuum of care when the family is homeless.

6. Real-time accurate number of shelter beds available and increase the number of non-faith based shelters.

7. Additional “wet” shelters that do not require the person to participate in a program, person can be high or drunk to use the facility and not be turned away.

8. Education regarding available services and shareable system to track linkages

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9. Improved data on the homeless such as length of homelessness (acute versus chronic), cause of the homelessness, is it a family, individual, minor without family support.

10. A formalized assessment of housing and shelter needs in rural communities.

11. Strong, centralized structure for homeless funding and service decisions and expanded distribution of funding opportunities.

12. Comprehensive case management for homeless clients and improved access to primary healthcare and medication for chronic diseases; perhaps partnering with Federally Qualified Health Clinic or the University of California, San Francisco.

13. Increased substance use disorder services and mental health services throughout county.

14. Enforce ordinances that address hazardous or unsanitary conditions, which constitute fire, health, and/or safety risks.

These priorities will address jurisdictional boundaries, transportation, outreach, housing, data collection, direct services and the preservation of public health and public safety. The priorities, which are not in priority order, are intended to be a comprehensive list and a living document, updated as necessary based on data-driven outcomes or at least once a calendar year.

The 15 cities are Clovis, Coalinga, Firebaugh, Fowler, Fresno, Huron, Kerman, Kingsburg, Mendota, Orange Cove, Parlier, Reedley, San Joaquin, Sanger and Selma. The interlaced rural and metro priorities will allow County staff to focus on, seek funding, recommend for allocation, and/or utilize flexible homeless funding to deliver related services. 

Priorities were shared and reviewed by representatives of the 15 incorporated cities. It is anticipated the cities will adopt the priorities through action at the city council level.

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