Cindy Ward Human Services Agency Division of Housing & Homeless Programs February 9, 2007 San Francisco Homeless Families Services Redesign

Cindy Ward Human Services Agency Division of Housing & Homeless Programs February 9, 2007 San Francisco Homeless Families Services Redesign

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Cindy Ward

Human Services Agency

Division of Housing & Homeless Programs

February 9, 2007

San Francisco Homeless Families Services Redesign


Why did we undertake this process?

How did we do it?

Who was involved?

What happened as a result?


Explore transforming the current emergency system for homeless families into a proactive “Housing First” model.

Process Six-month process to elicit recommendations Advisory Committee met monthly to provide

direction to the sub-committees Three sub-committees each met twice per

month Eviction Prevention/Rental Assistance Emergency Shelter/Assessment Transitional/Permanent Housing

Community Involvement workgroup designed ways to bring family voices into the process


Mayor issued a press release


Based on the success of a Housing First model in the single adult population, interest in expanding Housing First to the family system

Before the Process Began Decided on subcommittee topics

Eviction Prevention/Rental Assistance Emergency Shelter/Assessment Transitional/Permanent Housing

Allocated staff Each subcommittee was staffed by one

Housing & Homeless staff member and one Planning Analyst

Developed list of initial invitees Decided on timeframe

Getting Started

HSA invited dozens of community stakeholders to participate, and encouraged them to invite othersLetters of invitation were sentFollow-up phone calls to all invitees

The process was kicked off with an Advisory Committee meeting

Who Participated? Service providers Advocates Housing developers School District Housing Authority Foundations Families Other City Agencies

Over 140 people participated overall!

StructureAdvisory Committee

Eviction Prevention/

Rental Assistance

Emergency Shelter/


Transitional/ Permanent


Community Involvement Workgroup

Ground Rules

Housing First is the goal Translation is available for every meeting,

but HSA staff request 48 hours notice if translation will be needed

Meetings are chaired by co-chairs, who represent the agencies involved

Ground Rules

Agendas emailed to everyone before every meeting and posted on website

Meeting minutes written up and posted on website after every meeting

Meetings held at community locations

Discussion is great; Decisions are better!

Community InvolvementAlthough families were welcome to every meeting, we found that expecting them to come to meetings in the middle of the day was not realistic. A workgroup developed the following to better hear from homeless families: Survey of homeless families Focus groups Questionnaire of families living in SROs Provider survey Shelter benchmark data collection

How Decisions Got Made Subcommittees decided on their decision-making

process. All three made decisions by consensus, with minority

views offered space to voice other considerations

Subcommittees brought their recommendations to the Advisory Committee for a vote.

Advisory Committee decisions made by a straight majority. Each organization got one vote.

Advisory Committee members prioritized the recommendations.

Lessons Learned Staff intensive Getting family input is an extra step – plan for

it from the beginning (and provide incentives!) Identify and define the target population from

the beginning Big processes need consistent leadership

and vision Deadlines are difficult, but necessary Budget some money for the process and

provide guidelines about how it may be spent

Big Lesson Learned

Change is hard

Change is Hard

“And it should be considered that nothing is more difficult to handle, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, than to put oneself at the head of introducing new orders. For the introducer has all those who benefit from the old orders as enemies, and he has lukewarm defenders in all those who might benefit from new orders.”

-- Machiavelli

Talking About Change

How you talk about the changes is important

The current system isn’t “broken” The new ideas will improve services in

ways that are definable

Results – Recommendations Subcommittees developed 19 recommendations Key themes emerged throughout the process:

Families need:Access to affordable housingAffordable/subsidized childcareCulturally and linguistically competent

servicesVocational/employment services that enable a

family to increase their income

Results – Implementation

Released an RFP to provide expanded rental assistance and temporary rental subsidies Community lobbied for increased funding for

these services - $3 million

Created a system for expedited access to childcare for families in shelters

Forming a Housing First workgroup

The full SF Family Redesign Report is available on the NAEH website.

Contact Info:

Cindy Ward

[email protected]