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Housing First • Page 2 <br />City adopted a five-year homeless service strategy. These strategies established the groundwork <br />for homeless services in the City of Riverside including implementing the Hulen campus and the <br />Homeless Outreach Team. This fifteen year old strategy has been effective but has plateaued in <br />its ability to end homelessness. <br />On October 11, 2016, City Council held a workshop to consider opportunities to improve homeless <br />services in Riverside. City Council launched a discussion introducing a potential change in <br />homeless policy, seeking to adopt a Housing First model. Staff returned to the City Council in <br />January and June of 2017 with further updates on the effectiveness of the current homeless <br />program in Riverside along with additional information on the proposed Housing First model. City <br />Council directed staff to prepare a plan that strategizes the adoption and implementation of <br />Riverside Housing First. <br />Preparing the Housing First Plan <br />In mid -2017, staff began a series of community conversations to introduce the Housing First <br />concept to the residential and business community. Over the succeeding months, continuous <br />and regular meetings were held throughout the City with community groups, church <br />congregations, neighborhood organizations, economic development groups, local business <br />organizations, and local academic and civic groups. These community engagements centered <br />on the definition of Housing First, the needs in the Riverside community, and the integration of <br />housing first units into local communities. The drafting of the Riverside Housing First Plan <br />considered in this staff report was also announced, and that the Plan would receive public <br />comment and redrafting before consideration before the City Council. <br />Staff contracted with LeSar Development Consultants to assist in the research and drafting of the <br />Housing First Plan, which was released to the public on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, and received <br />public comment until February 12, 2018. The Office of Homeless Solutions received 142 <br />comments via email, letter and social media. The various comments and staff responses are <br />included in the Frequently Asked Questions document (Attachment 6). Staff and LeSar <br />Development Consultants have identified major comment areas, and redrafted the Housing First <br />Plan to reflect this guidance. The Riverside Housing First Plan that is presented to the City <br />Council represents a compilation of data, best practices, and some of the public comments. <br />DISCUSSION: <br />Introduction <br />The City of Riverside, working with our many partners, has been able to manage the homeless <br />situation, including achieving housing for some of the homeless. These efforts require a significant <br />amount of resources yet do not ultimately end homelessness for individuals and families. The <br />homeless population will continue to grow, and if we continue doing what we have been doing, <br />the problem will only get worse for the entire city. <br />We understand that as we focus on housing the unsheltered homeless, there is much other work <br />to be done to assist families and individuals on the edge and prevent more from becoming <br />homeless — there are many agencies and organizations doing such work. <br />The focus of Riverside Housing First is to house individuals and families in order to 1) effectively <br />help get them on the sustained path to stability, and 2) to get them off the streets, out of the parks <br />and river -bottom, and out of the business districts. <br />