As of January 2020, an estimated 161,548 Californians were experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Of that total, 8,030 were family households, 11,401 were Veterans, 12,172 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24), and 51,785 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
According to a study by Chaplin Hall, one in 10 young adults ages 18-25, and at least one in 30 adolescents ages 13-17, experiences some form of unaccompanied homelessness over the course of a year in the United States. Community leaders across the nation are uniting to develop efficient and sustainable solutions to this heartbreaking epidemic.
On May 21, the Rapid Results Institute (RRI), and HomeBase, with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced the Lake County Continuum of Care had accepted the 100-Day Challenge to accelerate efforts in preventing and ending youth homelessness within our communities. Lake County, the City of Long Beach and Monterey and Mendocino Counties comprised RRI’s third cohort of California jurisdictions.
100-Day Challenges are designed to empower and support front-line teams in pursuit of an ambitious goal, and are a central part of the movement to prevent and end youth homelessness. RRI pioneered this methodology, which has been used by communities and governments around the world to tackle complex social issues. The compressed timeframe of 100 days, high visibility, and support from coaches, peers, and federal leaders all work together to inspire teams to achieve rapid progress and sustainable system change.
Lake County’s 100-Day goal not only included housing a significant number of unhoused people, but also setting sub-goals in order to achieve the initial 100-Day Goal. These sub-goals vary according to the needs of each community, and include housing marginalized youth with a lens on LGBTQIA, racial equity, housing those community members that are unhoused over the age of fifty-five, securing job opportunities, and strengthening the infrastructure of existing systems to better deal with this rising epidemic.
The Lake County Continuum of Care is striving to “connect 55 people experiencing homelessness to safe and stable housing.” Emphasis has been placed on ensuring historically underserved populations have the opportunity to benefit from this program:
Since this project commenced on May 24, the 100-Day Challenge team has helped house 22 Lake County community members.
“22 lives have been meaningfully transformed as a result of our team’s efforts, and that is truly remarkable,” states Todd Metcalf, Director of Lake County Behavioral Health Services. “Redwood Community Services, Adventist Health, the Lake County Department of Health Services and so many people in Lake County’s communities have been tremendous partners to our agency throughout this effort, and we sincerely appreciate the dynamic presence each brings to our Continuum of Care.”
“There is still work to be done,” continues Metcalf, “and we are working hard to realize our goal!”
Over 3,600 youth and young adults have been housed during the course of RRI 100-Day Challenges throughout California, and 100-Day Challenges are gaining momentum around the United States. In U.S. Senate Report 115-268, the committee applauded HUD’s decision to provide funding for 100-Day Challenges. The 100-Day Challenge has provided an opportunity to create a team of community agencies to specifically address the housing crisis facing our Nation.
Individuals, organizations, and communities interested in following the progress of this groundbreaking initiative can sign up to receive news from RRI at https://www.rapidresults.org/. If you have a rental and are willing to work with our team to provide affordable housing please contact Natalie Baker (BakerN01@ah.org).
For more local information on housing assistance please visit the Lake County Continuum of Care website at https://www.lakecoc.org/.