San Joaquin County approves new initiative to address homelessness (Video)

San Joaquin County approves new initiative to address homelessness (Video)

In KCRA by Lee Anne Denyer.

San Joaquin County is taking a new approach to helping the county’s homeless individuals.

The county’s board of supervisors approved the creation of a Community Assessment, Response and Engagement (CARE) team earlier this week. It will be headed by the county’s probation department.

“We have a lot of folks working in silos, but you need that one agency that touches all branches to bring people together,” said Steve Jackson, the chief probation officer for San Joaquin County. “The relationship piece or the partnership piece isn’t going to be the issue. It’s just us figuring out the details of how we move and work together.”

Jackson said the probation department is uniquely prepared to take on this new task because of its connections to both law enforcement and social services, adding the department often functions as a link to services.

“We build trust with our clientele and relationships with our partners. We often partner with behavioral health, public health, community-based organizations, so really it’s a good fit for probation,” Jackson said.

He said there are around 500 people, about 10.5% of the people the department oversees, who are currently homeless. He said that that number has risen by 4% in three years.

San Joaquin County Supervisor Paul Canepa is one of the county board supervisors who encouraged the board to adopt the measure after determining, he said, through committee work that the county lacked leadership in its efforts to help homeless individuals.

“People are expecting results and so we’re trying to find best practices,” Canepa said. “It’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s about holding people accountable.”

CARE teams will consist of various partners, including a case manager, police and fire, mental health clinicians, and others. The mission of the team is to better identify people in need of services and link them with services available to best support their individual needs, officials said.

For Jackson, he said the key is understanding success will take time and is possible through deep collaboration.

The team is modeled after a similar program in Stanislaus County.

Read the full article here and view the video HERE.