What is First Step Communities?
In the last few years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established directives for a Housing First model as a top priority The emphasis would be to place homeless people in permanent housing and to coordinate access for the services they need.
The First Step Communities (FSC) organization, along with other catalyst of this work such as Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) and the Sacramento Continuum of Care (CoC), are in agreement with HUD's direction towards Housing First as the priority model. It should be noted, however, that a troublesome gap persists in the ability to secure funding to produce sufficient permanent housing that is affordable and supportive for the homeless population. This is especially true for the population of homeless who are the most chronically affected when it comes to accessing permanent housing programs, emergency shelters and/or services.
It is this vulnerable population that is often unable to find the appropriate services needed. These are the individuals who represent FSC's targeted interests for support. The overall mission of First Step Communities is to provide interim housing and services to the most vulnerable of the homeless population. In doing so, FSC and its collaborative partners will help this targeted group of individuals as they move through the interim services provided.
The desired outcome is to prepare this population for rapid re-housing programs that will align with a Housing First model and prioritize a successful transition to permanent housing.
The Sacramento Homeless Deaths Study: In the 2002-2013 and 2014 Update, authored by the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness (SRCEH),it underscores that un-sheltered homeless people die at the average rate of one per week, every week. These numbers have remained consistent for the past twelve years in the Sacramento region. This study has demonstrated that the mortality rate for homeless people in Sacramento is several times higher than the general population. Additionally, the SRCEH study has identified a lack of appropriate healthcare and mental health services available for the Sacramento homeless population. There is an urgent and well-documented gap in the need for safety, shelter, and treatment. FSC can help fill this existing gap, offering a much-needed and cost-effective solution. The approach will be based on a harm reduction model that looks to establish an interim community with relevant collaborative services. First Step Communities brings leadership and well-planned objectives to this task. In the effort to help end the cycle of homelessness for the Sacramento Region, FSC will begin to establish new resources that will help maximize the existing services already provided by the Sacramento Continuum of Care (CoC).
What Community Leaders Are Saying...
“There was a question once asked, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?" I am convinced that First Step Communities along with other civic and religious organizations are uniting to help deal with the problem of homelessness in our community. Let’s work together and let our brothers and sisters know that we care for them. Let’s support First Step Communities. We have an opportunity to help end homelessness in our community.” … Dr. Bryant C. Wyatt, Pastor