HANFORD — In an effort to address the ever-growing issue of homelessness within the county, the Board of Supervisors approved at their meeting Tuesday the formation of a Kings County Homelessness Collaborative.
The Homelessness Collaborative would advise and assist in the county’s efforts to address homelessness by assessing strengths and gaps in the current system and developing strategies to meet needs that have been unmet.
The collaborative is also intended to make recommendations on policies aimed at improving strategies, goals and funding resources to address homelessness.
Homelessness has become an issue not only in Hanford and Kings County, but in communities all across the state.
“There are many organizations committed to serving homeless persons and reducing the prevalence of homelessness; however, resources are fragmented and do not provide a seamless navigation experience to homeless persons seeking habitation,” stated the county staff report provided in the meeting’s agenda.
According to the county staff report, because multiple sectors like health care, law enforcement, faith-based organizations and other areas intersect with homelessness, then addressing the issue requires a coordinated response from committed organizations and people working across different sectors.
Members of the Hanford City Council have shown interest in partnering up with the county to tackle the issues together after recent plans to locate a homeless service center in the city fell through.
The Kings County Department of Public Health will act as the coordinating agency and Director Edward Hill suggested representatives from the following categories for membership:
- Board of Supervisors
- Kings County Behavioral Health
- Kings County Department of Public Health
- Kings County Human Services Agency
- Kings County Sheriff’s Office
- Adventist Hospital
- Community Action Agency
- Housing Authority
- Faith community
- Local business association
- Community of Armona
- City of Avenal
- City of Corcoran
- Grangeville community
- City of Hanford
- Community of Hardwick
- Kettleman City
- City of Lemoore
- Community of Stratford
- One “community partner” member from a category like a senior citizen agency; school, school district or County Office of Education; or community-based organization
Together, members would work on comprehensive approaches to address the root causes of homelessness and significant barriers to reducing homelessness.
Chairman Joe Neves said he would also like to see a representative from some type of transportation authority, which Hill said he would work on getting as well.
The supervisors voted unanimously to create the collaborative.
With the board approval, Hill said the department will now set out to recruit members and then hold a kick-off meeting once the members are approved by the board.
Hill said he will start recruiting immediately and hopes to hold the kick-off meeting within a month, where members will begin to figure out their specific goals and objectives.
Once it gets going, the Homelessness Collaborative will periodically report back to the Board of Supervisors.