Nowhere is the problem of unsheltered homeless people as bad as what you’ll find in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and even Alaska (where I just was). Check out this article that Gary Gray from Rescue Mission Alliance (Oxnard, California) just sent to me about what’s going on in his state.
When I was in HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) in Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago, the team there essentially told my wife, Judi, and me that things have gotten so out of hand that they would be open to moving forward—ASAP—with joint communications from Citygate Network and HUD. Despite the fact that we have very different philosophies and approaches—the SNAPS office provides the funding to local Continuums of Care to cover Housing First, and we do rescue and life transformation—HUD said we need to work together like never before. They wanted to know if we would be willing to take a major role in providing the supportive services that people in government housing need. Think about that!
And here’s something else to think about: I suggested to them that because our 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition would be held in California, perhaps we (they) could invite Continuum of Care leaders from cities up and down the West Coast to join us in Palm Springs. We would host, in the context of our event, a symposium on Stemming the Flow of Unsheltered Homelessness on the West Coast. This would be government-supported and gospel-focused organizations coming together to respect each other’s space and work on a solution. Now think about this! I just received an answer from them: Yes, they are open to seeing such a symposium happen.
Action step: If you are from the West Coast and are interested in being part of something like this, please let me know. Sometime in the next two weeks, I want to be able to give HUD the names of cities (not your names) where we have a member that would be willing to come to the table for such a symposium. They will then connect with their Continuum of Care people and get the ball rolling. NOTE: If you are on the West Coast and have not yet registered for the Annual Conference and Exposition, please do so soon as this could be huge. Go to our online registration page. And if you are not from the West Coast but are interested in sitting in, that will likely be a possibility. Inform me of your interest, as well.