In July 2019, Island County Human Services assembled a task force to guide the creation of the Homeless Housing Plan. The Homeless Housing Task Force members attended multiple meetings over four months and finalized the Plan by November 2019. Task Force members included an elected official, a city department head, Human Services staff, Jail Director, housing providers, behavioral health providers, hospital social work supervisor, shelter manager, community members and those with lived experience. This Plan represents the voice of many working together to improve the lives of our most vulnerable.
The Task Force analyzed the current state of homelessness in Island County reviewing annual Point in Time Count Data, Housing Support Center/HMIS data, and current resources; including funding, housing programs, supportive services and subsidized housing inventories.
Extensive discussions provided helpful input around current homeless crisis response system challenges, system gaps that create barriers to housing, types of housing and other services needed to scale our overall system to address the needs of all homeless subpopulations. Significant discussion on Prevention highlighted the need for more work to be done in other systems upstream in people's lives to reduce those entering the door to homelessness. Special emphasis was put on our most vulnerable homeless populations including those living unsheltered, the chronically homeless, and youth and senior homeless households. Finally, strategic thinking on what is needed over the next five years to continue making progress in reducing homelessness in Island County provided the goal and action steps detailed in the Action Plan Matrix.
This Plan follows Commerce guidelines and addresses the five required State Objectives, and introduces the shift from Continuum of Care to Homeless Crisis Response System. Local government, the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and community advocates are diligently working to address the housing shortage in our community and the intent of this plan is not to duplicate those efforts. However, the Homeless Crisis Response System cannot be effective without the availability of housing. Island County outcomes will not improve without added capacity to the housing market and specific allocation of resources directed to our extremely low to moderate income households. Improved outcomes rely heavily on the expectation that additional housing capacity will be added to the system so that those experiencing homelessness are able to move quickly from the Homeless Crisis Response System to stable, permanent housing
The Task Force sees this Plan as a living document to be evaluated and updated as new data, best practices and opportunities emerge. The Task Force recommends an annual review with formal updates as required by Commerce. Implementation of this Plan will begin in early 2020.
Island County 5 year plan - submitted.pdf