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Matching Funds Growing to Address Homelessness

As mentioned in the July/August Desert Health®, the Board of Directors of the Desert Healthcare District/Foundation had voted to establish a collective fund with up to $2 million as a challenge grant for a West Valley Homelessness Initiative and will match up to $2 million in contributions. Addressing homelessness is a critical goal that the Board has identified in the District’s Strategic Plan, which also includes strategies addressing behavioral health.

To ensure ongoing public participation in developing solutions, the Desert Healthcare District/ Foundation continues to play a leadership role to resolve the challenges in the existing system of care and create a healthier regional community.

The first implementation of the fund has begun – short-term support of rapid rehousing with wrap-around services. A public-private-public partnership comprising of Desert Healthcare District (matching fund challenge) with Desert Healthcare Foundation (West Valley Homelessness Initiative) and Coachella Valley Association of Governments (West Valley Navigation Program) has been developed to bring together the ideas, insights, talents, efforts and, most importantly, the matching funds that will transform the current system serving our regional homeless population. This transformation includes an integrated and cost-effective approach to systems change – a new infrastructure to serve our region’s homeless community.

The West Valley Housing Navigation Program was approved by the CVAG Executive Committee on June 26, 2017.  It was developed under the “housing first” model (stable housing paired with social services) that has proven successful nationwide. Under the approved contract, Path of Life Ministries, a Riverside-based nonprofit, will oversee programs that focus on rapid rehousing opportunities, emergency rental assistance, crisis stabilization options and other supportive services. These services entail a client assessment determination for prevention (outreach, hotline, rental assistance, referrals); diversion (counseling, rapid rehousing, case management, behavioral health, employment); and crisis stabilization housing (emergency housing up to 90 days, case management and basic needs). The program was launched in the western Coachella Valley due to transition of services at Roy’s Desert Resource Center, which is becoming a much-needed behavioral health care facility.

The District has committed $103,000 to CVAG’s West Valley Navigation Program and recognized those cities that had already confirmed their $103,000 contribution with a dollar-to-dollar match in their name to the Navigation Program.

The committed cities to date are Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Cathedral City and Coachella. The District’s matched amount to the West Valley Navigation Program to date is $618,000, adding to the already committed amount of $977,711.

The District’s financial match is allowing CVAG to leverage dollars and expand their efforts. It is hoped that all cities will take part in this unprecedented opportunity and help the region better address homelessness in the Coachella Valley.

For additional information on the Desert Healthcare District/Foundation call (760) 323.6113 or visit their website at www.dhcd.org. For an online referral directory of health services and programs across the Coachella Valley (in English and Spanish), visit their Health Information Portal at www.CVHIP.com.

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