Formerly Berkeley Food & Housing Project
On December 20, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, setting an ambitious and important goal – a 25% reduction in homelessness by 2025. The plan outlines strategies to prevent homelessness and increase the supply of housing with supportive services. The administration encourages state and local governments to use the plan as a blueprint to develop their own strategies and set their own ambitious goals for 2025.
Berkeley Food & Housing Project supports this strategic and comprehensive plan.
“We applaud that the goal of the plan reflects the urgent need to equitably reduce homelessness and the human suffering that results from it,” says Calleene Egan, Chief Executive Officer of BFHP. “We commend its inclusivity and focus on combating systemic racism that has created disparities in homelessness across our communities.”
The plan is built around three foundations – equity, data and evidence, and collaboration – and three solutions – housing and support, crisis response, and prevention. “We were proud to see that BFHP’s strategic plan is in alignment with the pillars of All In,” said Egan.
Here is a look at how BFHP’s work and operations align with the strategies outlined in USICH’s plan:
Lead with Equity – BFHP actively recruits those with lived experience at all levels of staff and board of directors, and provides DEI training to all staff.
Use Data and Evidence to Make Decisions – We aggregate all our Homeless Management Integration System data from each county to track regional demographics and trends. Program design is informed by point-in-time counts as well as client feedback surveys.
Collaboration at all Levels – BFHP collaborates with both federal agencies and local leadership to align with regulations and integrate communities. We also work in a rich network of partner agencies so BFHP clients can have all their needs met, including physical and mental health, legal aid, employment support, benefits navigation, etc.
Scale Housing and Support that Meet Demand – The Hope Center is an innovative approach that brings a continuum of affordable and very low-income housing integrated into the fabric of a vibrant community rich in transit and services. Planned in close collaboration with the city of Berkeley, it is a vital part of the overall plan for a permanent stable solution for unhoused neighbors.
Improve Effectiveness of Homeless Response Systems – In addition to regular case management and operational services, BFHP has a history of rapid programming in response to crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched Shelter-in-Place Programming in hotels across six counties for people to safely isolate with food support to help mitigate risk.
Prevent Homelessness – Our Rapid Rehousing Programs quickly places people with housing instability into a home of their own. With the assistance of a case manager, clients can focus on stabilizing, building income, and finding a more permanent housing solution.
In mid-November, BFHP was proud to give Jeff Olivet, Executive Director of USICH, a tour of the Hope Center. “Hosting the USICH team along with our local partners was an affirmation of the work we’re doing in our communities. When reading the report, it was amazing to see the specific mention of the importance of wraparound services in supportive housing, which is exactly what is offered at the Hope Center,” said Egan.
BFHP applauds the plan’s framework for implementation, specifically stressing the importance of racial equality and equity for marginalized people to resolve underlying structural causes of homelessness.
“Homelessness in the United States is an urgent life-and-death public health issue and humanitarian crisis,” wrote Olivet in the report. “Far too many Americans live – and die – without a roof over their heads… It does not have to be this way. Homelessness is not inevitable, and it is not unsolvable. At USICH, we envision a future in which no one experiences homelessness – not even for one night.”