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Countywide Outreach Process

Access to the Continuum of Care (CoC) System is key to its success. A coordinated outreach process was envisioned, and consequently developed, that would provide an easy and standard procedure for homeless persons to access the system, and to ensure that the services they accessed were appropriate to their individual needs.

The local outreach process, called "Outreach, Assessment and Placement" (OAP), is provided on the street in a daily, non-aggressive fashion, and as a result of service requests from homeless persons, social service agencies, religious organizations and law enforcement personnel. OAP teams are composed of formerly homeless persons and social services professionals. Referrals are made to the level of housing, as appropriate, or to ancillary services, as may be needed.

The continuum’s outreach process has been developed into a coordinated system designed to ensure ready access to services. This outreach process is county-wide and typically staffed with two-member teams that include formerly homeless persons. Staff is connected through a two-way radio dispatch system that coordinates placements, allowing homeless persons to be brought directly to and processed into emergency housing or other appropriate housing without unnecessary delays.

The established OAP process requires on-the-street preliminary assessments and typical information and referral that encompasses five elements: outreach engagement, preliminary psycho-social assessments, placement/referrals, follow-up and re-engagement (for individuals placed into housing by OAP who leave and return to the streets). More than a dozen mobile outreach teams are assigned to specific geographic areas and respond to service requests, as well as visiting areas on a daily/weekly basis known to be frequented by homeless persons and/or identified through a semi-annual homeless count.

The OAP efforts are complimented by other specialized outreach programs, that include the Department of Veterans Affairs mobile Health Care for Homeless Veterans program team, a Health Care for the Homeless-funded outreach team (Camillus Health Concern) that provides medical outreach, and mental health outreach teams (Safe Haven "SPORT" teams).

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Thu Aug 2, 2012 4:29:59 PM

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