Over the past 11 months we have succeeded with:
We have all been affected by homelessness in one way or another and have a strong commitment to working together towards addressing this cause in our communities throughout the Inland Empire. SWAG believes the resources to address homelessness already exist throughout each community, and the missing component is the communication and coordination of the existing resources to address the different aspects of homelessness. Through our community outreach and mobile supportive services, we will educate the community about homelessness, and how they can be a part of a permanent solution to address homelessness in their community.
Our approach is person-centered in all that we do, from program brainstorming to program design and implementation. SWAG works hard to ensure that they never lose sight of whom this program was designed for, those at-risk of being homeless and the unsheltered chronically homeless. These two categories require differing approaches and supportive services to address their specific needs. Those who are at-risk of being homeless are either actively seeking assistance or are unaware of services and can be made aware available through strategic community outreach. The at-risk of being homeless population often needs temporary rental subsidies, housing navigation to identify and obtain affordable housing, and limited case management services to maintain stabilization.
The unsheltered chronically homeless are truly under-represented and require significantly more time and resources. Often, chronically homeless individuals are the main topic of discussion because they are visible at freeway on/offramps, intersections, shopping centers, parks and are not actively seeking assistance to change their lifestyle and exit life on the streets. Currently, in the Inland Empire, there is insufficient data which captures the true characteristics of what chronically homeless individuals face and struggle with every day. If policymakers were provided with accurate data, they could better understand the problem they are faced with and how to best utilize resources. Our approach focuses on the restoration of an individual’s self-worth and literally meets a person where he/she may be at in an effort to permanently help them exit life on the streets.
In dealing with the chronically homeless, it is traditionally two groups who are attempting to provide assistance. One being governmental agencies who are specifically tasked with providing services to the chronically homelessness. Despite such agencies having significant resources to deal with the homeless, they continue to struggle by not completely understanding the issue(s) associated with the chronically homeless. The second group consists of the faith-based and concerned citizens who volunteer their own time and financial resources and demonstrate a sincere concern to help these individuals.
This group often succeeds in making genuine connections, however, may not know how to identify mental health issues, substance abuse issues, or how to navigate those systems of care. These two groups often work separately and in isolation of one another. Thus, missed opportunities to collaborate with one another and provide all aspects of care to an individual in need. Furthermore, the very idea of someone being homeless is further complicated by the wide-range of homeless definitions. The strategies and services the vast majority of agencies conduct never reach people that are actually living on the streets. Their programs and services are consumed by individuals categorized as homeless, however, we would define them as couch surfers, people doubling up with relatives, having a pending pay or quit notice, or simply without a place of their own.