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Santa Cruz County launches tool to help connect homeless to housing

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATE 4/11/18 5:20PM A new technology system has officially launched in Santa Cruz, with the goal of helping address homelessness throughout the county.

The 'Smart Path to Housing and Health Homeless Coordinated Entry System' (Smart Path) launched with the goal of "coordinating the existing programs and providers to make it easier and more equitable for people who find themselves unhoused and homeless to get the help they need," says Director Robyn McKeen.

For the more than 2,000 people who are homeless in the County, Smart Path creates systems-wide change by utilizing evidence-based assessments and coordinating resources to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are more quickly matched to housing programs and homeless services.

If someone is experiencing homelessness the first step is to take the Smart Path Assessment. This can be done at four locations in Santa Cruz County that can all be found be clicking here

After the assessment is taken the individual will be contacted if there is a housing program match that meets the needs of that person. Individuals will also be linked to available non-housing resources, such as meals, showers, medical care, and government benefits.

Drawing on the experiences of coordinated entry systems in other communities, Smart Path facilitates the effective and efficient utilization of scarce resources by prioritizing families and individuals with the highest needs.

“Coordinated Entry is a key strategy for preventing and ending homelessness,” said Julie Conway, lead staff for the Homeless Action Partnership. 

McKeen says before Smart Path, finding the right housing program or service proved to be very difficult for those in need, "individuals and families experiencing homelessness have had to navigate and incredibly frustrating and ever-changing a maze of services and referrals. So with smart path individuals can get a uniform for assessment at a variety of locations and automatically be considered for a variety of multiple housing programs."

Phase 2 of the program will also link individuals to emergency and winter shelters. That is expected to be an option in late 2019.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A new technology system has officially launched in Santa Cruz, with the goal of helping address homelessness throughout the county.

The 'Smart Path to Housing and Health Homeless Coordinated Entry System' (Smart Path) launched with the goal of creating a more efficient and effective system.

Smart Path creates systems-wide change by utilizing evidence-based assessments and coordinating resources to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are more quickly matched to housing programs and homeless services.

Drawing on the experiences of coordinated entry systems in other communities, Smart Path facilitates the effective and efficient utilization of scarce resources by prioritizing families and individuals with the highest needs.

“Coordinated Entry is a key strategy for preventing and ending homelessness,” said Julie Conway, lead staff for the Homeless Action Partnership. 

KION's Ashley Keehn will have more on this story tonight at 5 and 6.


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