Efforts to end homelessness continue at Haven House

Efforts to end homelessness continue at Haven House
Client Kurt Leorise shows off his bunk at the shelter. Leorise moved into Haven House after living on the streets for seven years. File photo by Promise Yee

REGION — While North County winter emergency shelters are closing their doors for the season, Haven House year-round shelter in Escondido remains open.

The year-round shelter run by Interfaith Community Services houses 36 men and 13 women, who would otherwise be on the streets.

The shelter has an 85 percent success rate of clients securing permanent housing, based on 27 clients who exited its doors since it opened on Dec. 23, 2015.

“Many are moving into their own apartments, some found long-term housing with family, 23 (out of 27) are in a positive, better place,” Greg Anglea, Interfaith Community Services executive director, said.

Operation of the year-round shelter is a bit different from temporary emergency shelters. Both share the goal of assisting clients to gain permanent housing, and provide temporary shelter and case management, yet, the year-round shelter houses clients who are employed or soon to be employed. It also eliminates an arbitrary closing date.

Anglea said in past years the Interfaith Community Services emergency shelter would close before some clients could get back on their feet.

“Clients would come in December, and by that time seasonal jobs were filled,” Anglea said. “They would hit their groove by March, but hadn’t yet been able to save enough money (for permanent housing). They were not ready to leave, but were forced to.”

Employed clients now have a rigorous 60 days of support services to help them get back on their feet.

“It’s not a Band-Aid, it’s part of a strategic intervention and we need more of it,” Anglea said.

Things are looking up in national efforts to end homelessness.

The cities of New Orleans, Houston, Las Vegas and Philadelphia have reached federal benchmarks of ending veteran homeless through the 25 Cities initiative, which brings together collaborative regional efforts to solve the problem.

San Diego is a member of the 25 Cities program, but cannot claim an end to veteran, or general homelessness yet.

North County cities have adopted similar shared databases and resources to address veteran and chronic homelessness. Housing first efforts are continuing and will soon look at solutions for homeless families as well.

“We will get to a place where we can offer housing to everyone on the streets in this community,” Anglea said. “There may be someone who does not have a roof over their head, but that doesn’t mean that person needs to be on the streets for years or months at a time.”

A January 2015 point in time count recorded 1,500 homeless individuals in North County.


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