SALT LAKE CITY — From City Hall to the county government complex, local governments will take a comprehensive look at services for homeless individuals and families including the location of service providers during 2015.
On Thursday, Salt Lake County will host the inaugural meeting of the Homelessness Services Collective Impact Council, intended to "foster a culture of continuous improvement in homeless services delivery," according to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams' office.
Over the past decade, Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 72 percent since 2005 and virtually eliminated homelessness among veterans, achievements largely attributed to Utah's housing-first strategy, according to the 2014 Utah Comprehensive Report on Homelessness.
"I’m convinced we are at a point where we can achieve larger goals by working under collective impact principles as we work to move individuals and families from homelessness to stability and safety. We will take our efforts to the next level to focus on effective, efficient delivery of services, starting with developing goals and measurable outcomes,” McAdams said.
Fraser Nelson, the county's newly hired director of Data and Innovation and former executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah, will guide the council's efforts. The group includes government, business and nonprofit representatives.
On Monday afternoon, Salt Lake City's Homeless Services Site Evaluation Commission will launch its efforts during a meeting at the Salt Lake City Main Library.
The commission includes homeless service providers, elected officials, business representatives, faith communities, law enforcement officials and nonprofit representatives.
Tentatively, the commission is scheduled to meet six times during 2015, in addition to two meetings during which members of the public can address the group.
Lloyd Pendleton, director of Utah's homeless task force, said Utah's progress in significantly reducing chronic homelessness and increasing housing opportunities among other populations has received national attention from other states, federal government officials and national media.
Pendleton's recent appearance on "The Daily Show" has become a viral sensation. Yet, it got the point across about Utah's progress, he said.
"We have a very good system in place, but it can still be refined," Pendleton said.
The city and county efforts will help in that respect, he said.
The state is moving closer to meeting its goals with respect to providing a "housing opportunity" to all chronically homeless people and veterans, understanding that some people are "housing resistant."
The next set of goals involves homeless youth and homeless families.
Pendleton said the new efforts by the city and county will bring fresh eyes and likely new resources to the effort through the pay for Success model, which encourages private investment in successful social enterprises.
"You have more and more people carrying the load with the county, city and state. Of course, they've been involved all along. Now there's a broader base. It's a great thing," he said.
Email: [email protected]