HOPE is the only agency in Longmont that operates 365 nights each year, and one of the very few to work with clients directly in the community. Staff and volunteers meet clients where they are (in the park, library, etc.) and engage people experiencing homelessness at a deeper level. This highly personal service delivery establishes supportive relationships and increases the chances that individuals will access the array of programs to help them move off the streets and into housing. Because we go directly to those in need, HOPE is often the first point of contact for people living on the margin, and we support those who are falling through the cracks or are not eligible for services at other agencies.
In 2017, street outreach teams made 24,045 contacts with 1,403 unduplicated individuals in Longmont, and provided 28,281 meals, 3,109 pair of socks, 860 pair of underwear, 1,644 blankets, and 1,325 hygiene kits. Additionally, 48 nights of emergency medical respite were provided to clients experiencing health crises, 13 individuals moved into housing and the overnight shelter was open 135 nights providing 5,581 total shelter stays for 430 unduplicated individuals.
On October 1, 2017, Boulder County launched a new effort to address homelessness. The Homeless Systems Collaborative is a joint effort between government, nonprofits, the faith community and people with lived experience to reduce homelessness in the community. This innovative approach follows a national trend resulting in successful housing outcomes and HOPE is a key stakeholder. In the past, homeless services have been spread across a host of providers, with different missions, strategies, and results. The new model improves coordination, aligns resources, and measures success based on the attainment of sustainable housing.
People seeking support will access all city and county homeless services through the new Coordinated Entry (CE) system. CE features a streamlined assessment process resulting in one of two paths: higher need folks are directed to the housing-focused shelter at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for long-term assistance; lower need individuals are directed to a navigation site in Longmont or Boulder. Navigation is intended to eliminate or reduce time in homeless services for those who may be able to resolve their housing crisis with limited assistance.
Boulder’s navigation services are offered by Bridge House. In Longmont, HOPE and OUR Center are providing a collaborative service model: HOPE provides nighttime navigation from 5:30pm – 7:30am and offers basic needs services including meals, overnight sleeping space, showers, and laundry for up to 50 people. Nighttime services will feature an expanded version of last winter’s program with United Church of Christ joining the continuing foundation laid by Journey and Heart of Longmont Churches. OUR Center provides daytime navigation 8am – 5pm where clients work with a case manager to develop a housing plan, receive assistance and links to county and other community programs as needed.
As part of the new system, HOPE is adding a daytime street outreach service to support the transition of nighttime outreach to a search and save model, which is designed to engage people experiencing homelessness at a deeper level. This incredibly important work establishes supportive relationships and increases the chances that individuals will access the array of programs to help them move off the streets and into housing. Search and save volunteers connect vulnerable individuals to services and provide emergency transportation to nighttime navigation in severe weather.
Through its emergency assistance program, HOPE provides bus passes, laundry vouchers, fills prescriptions and more, on a case by case basis. This program offers medical respite to individuals released from hospitals who have no indoor place to stay.
Transitional storage provides a safe place for people to keep their belongings as they work, seek employment, or attend classes and appointments. Identified as a primary step toward self-sufficiency, the opportunity to store belongings can be transformative.
STEP UP LONGMONT
The Step Up program pairs teams of community volunteers with individuals experiencing homelessness. Teams from faith, community and human services organizations, city government and businesses work with individuals to help achieve self-sufficiency and build support systems.
BIKES FOR HOPE
Thanks to a partnership between local businesses and cycling enthusiasts in our community, HOPE is able to distribute bicycles to clients with a demonstrated need. We accept donations of bicycles and bike parts, then volunteer bike mechanics refurbish the bicycles and add important features like lights and luggage racks so that each bicycle given to a HOPE client is reliable and safe. Having a bicycle helps people experiencing homelessness meet a vital need for transportation, which is an empowering step towards self-sufficiency.