From early indications, a program designed to provide services that address homelessness is working.
In six months, Path of Life Ministries, a non-profit organization based in Riverside, has delivered a full-scale CV Housing First operation to the Coachella Valley, according to Damien O’Farrell, CEO of the non-profit.
There is now a one-stop Coachella Valley Resource Connection Hotline, (760) 601-5424, mobile behavioral health and employment support, homelessness prevention and diversion in the form of rental assistance, and most importantly, O’Farrell said, housing.
On June 26, 2017, the executive committee of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments voted to approve a contract with Path of Life Ministries to provide services that address homelessness. At the time, the program was known as the West Valley Housing Navigation Program. In order to better reflect the expansion of services and intent of the program, the program is now known as CV Housing First.
CVAG has received $103,000 from four cites — Cathedral City, Coachella, Palm Desert and Palm Springs – as well as a $103,000 contribution from the Desert Healthcare District. The Desert Healthcare District also voted to match each $103,000 contribution from a city or tribe, adding an additional $412,000 to the fund. Based on the approvals to date, CVAG will receive $1,286,711 for FY 17/18. The cities of Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Rancho Mirage chose not to fully fund the CV Housing First program.
“So far, it looks really good,” said Cathedral City Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis. “There haven’t been any issues.”
Palm Desert Mayor Sabby Jonathan, chair of the CVAG Homeless Committee, said he was “excited to share the progress of this new program to the Coachella Valley and Riverside County.”
Between July 2017 and December 2017, Path of Life Ministries has accomplished the following, by the numbers, according to O’Farrell:
- Ended homeless situations for 30 people in the Coachella Valley, 12 of them children and five of them seniors, through leveraged permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing.
- Prevented homelessness using Coachella Valley Housing First Rental Assistance for 26 people in the valley, 14 of them children and five of them seniors.
- Provided 1,191 shelter bed nights through crisis stabilization housing for 13 people, two of them with serious medical needs and specialized equipment.
- Connected 48 people experiencing homelessness and trauma to Path of Life’s mobile Behavioral Health team.
- Partnered 22 clients with their own employment support navigator.
- Connected with more than 400 unduplicated callers to the Coachella Valley Resource Hotline and 71 shelter diversions.
A third-party evaluation of CV Housing First is expected to be available by June 2018.