Step Up’s Inland Empire Housing First Programs began in October 2016. The first year of funding served San Bernardino County, and Riverside County was added one year later. Services in both counties continue to expand.
Housing First, established by Dr. Sam Tsemberis, is a model which roots permanent supportive housing as a foundation of recovery for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, mental health conditions, and addictions. Traditionally, these individuals have lived in a cycle of surviving on the street, being admitted to hospitals, shelters, or jails and then going back to the street. The stress of surviving each day in this cycle puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the individual’s psychiatric and physical health. “Living in the street,” one client said, “It makes you crazy.”
Instead, Housing First advocates the provision of client-preferred services based on the premise that individuals know what is best for themselves, that services are to be directed by an individual’s self-determined goals. The number one supportive service requested by Step Up members is housing. Not a pill, a program, or a protocol, but a place to live.
Step Up’s Inland Empire Housing First Team works with property management companies and landlords who are willing to engage with Step Up to rent to the homeless population. Once an individual is in housing, service teams provide supportive case management services to ensure success. These services include assisting in securing public benefits (Social Security income, food stamps, etc.), counseling, substance use recovery support and linking to community resources.
Access to Step Up’s programs and services comes by referral from each of the Inland Empire’s County offices.
In Riverside County, contact HomeConnect at 1-800-498-8847Referrals for housing are received through the County of Riverside Coordinated Entry System, Home Connect program. If you are homeless and in need of housing, please call Home Connect. You will be enrolled in the program and connected with a staff member from an agency in Riverside County who will assist you in the process of securing housing.
In San Bernardino County, call 211If you are homeless, you can call 2-1-1 and speak to someone who should be able to direct you to shelters or other homeless services and make a referral to start the permanent supportive housing process.
For more information on Step Up’s Inland Empire Housing First program, contact (909) 361-2104
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Provides one hour of work force development training to a Step Up member.
Provides one home visit from a psychiatrist or nurse for medication support.
Provides a Welcome Home Kit to furnish and outfit an apartment for a member.
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