Placer County takes regional approach to respond to homelessness
Published on July 8, 2021
The Placer County Board of Supervisors has hired an expert firm in the field of homelessness and cross-sector planning to assist with developing best practices for working with the homeless population in the county. The Board of Supervisors voted this week to authorize spending $195,000 to hire Moore Iacofano Goltsman (dba as MIG, Inc.) to provide facilitation, planning and technical assistance to a regional workgroup composed of inter-jurisdictional elected and appointed officials.
The consultant will begin work immediately by reviewing data from existing programs and services that currently assist people experiencing homelessness throughout the county. The data collected will be compared to several peer communities and overall best practices to help determine the best path forward.
A series of regional working group meetings will also be facilitated by the consultant along with stakeholder and community engagement meetings to gather additional input for a recommendations report. The timeline calls for the report to be complete by December 2021 and it will address needs related to shelter capacity, staffing and facilities. The report will also evaluate potential operating models and include estimated capital and operating costs along with possible funding sources.
The collaborative effort was launched earlier this month during a Regional Homeless Summit that was hosted by Placer County and well attended by representatives from the county’s cities and towns.
“I’m pleased to see the strong support of our regional partners,” said Board Chair Robert Weygandt. “We have the opportunity to work together to manage this problem more effectively by combining our resources and consolidating our efforts and I’m grateful that our partners see the value in this approach.”
The Regional Working Group has also been established to help guide the effort and will include two representatives from each of the county’s jurisdictions. During the July 6 board meeting, supervisors voted to appoint District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore and District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes to represent the county’s unincorporated areas on this newly established committee.
Placer’s challenge is significant yet not as severe as other communities thanks to proactive efforts on the part of county and city governments. In fact, Placer has one of the lowest rates of homelessness per 10,000 people compared to neighboring jurisdictions and the recent homeless point-in-time count suggests some level of flattening with 744 counted in 2020 and 708 counted in 2021.
“Placer County has worked collaboratively with our Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, Health and Human Services and the Board of Supervisors to manage our homeless population.” said Supervisor Holmes. “Now is the time to collaborate with our city partners and nonprofits to find solutions to the countywide issue of homelessness.
The regional effort is intended to build on past accomplishments initiated in 2014 when the board approved a contract with Marbut Consulting for an assessment of existing and projected homeless service needs and evaluation of the regional system’s capacity to care for its homeless population. Since that time, the board has taken multiple measures to address homelessness within Placer County including the establishment of a shelter at the Placer County Government Center; augmenting homeless services through the award-winning Whole Person Care program; and the establishment of the Homeless Liaison Team, whose representatives from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department and Health and Human Services engage homeless residents daily to help connect them with support and resources and respond quickly to health and safety concerns.