Homeless Services Collaborative (HSC)
Who Are We
The Stark County Homeless Services Collaborative (HSC) is a group of local agencies that work collaboratively to end homelessness in our community. The collaborative consists of approximately 50 agencies that provide direct service to homeless clients. Each agency signs an agreement for joint provision of services on an annual basis. The collaborative conducts the annual Point in Time Count and sponsors an annual event called Project Homeless Connect and is looking towards other avenues to bring awareness to the homeless issues that have plagued Stark County. The Collaborative’s focus is on ending homelessness and assisting those who are homeless by creating an environment meant to do so, with the goal of identifying gaps in the homeless system, problem solving to eliminate those gaps and implementing solutions to make the system better.
The Stark County Homeless Services Collaborative aims to develop interdependent community projects to provide a full continuum of affordable housing and homeless services.
The Stark County Homeless Services Collaborative unites to advance education, compile information, and communicate ideas that expand resources of emergency shelter, affordable housing and appropriate services for the improvement of life for every citizen.
History of Homeless Services Collaborative
When it was created: In November 1988 many local agencies came together in a Housing Forum to assess housing needs and resources. A Housing Task Force was created to develop an affordable housing infrastructure for the whole community. Representatives of the Collaborative have met monthly to derive maximum benefit from existing housing programs, and plan for future developments.
Purpose/Why it was created: In February 1994 a steering committee invited all the shelters and homeless service providers together to plan for a formal system of collaboration. The Collaborative refined a single entry system so that no one in Stark County would need to be homeless overnight. The Collaborative implemented the Homeless Hotline to connect homeless persons to an available shelter bed. Existing shelters report available beds daily. Motel vouchers may be available through the Salvation Army or the Crisis Intervention and Recovery Center when all shelter beds are full, or to avoid splitting a family. Crisis Intervention Center answers the Hotline calls after business hours. The Hotline keeps an accurate count of homeless persons. In order for this system to work, regular meetings and procedures were created.
How it has transformed: In 1996 the HSC main function changed to organize the county’s Continuum of Care (CoC) grant application process and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Many agencies have been funded to develop housing and services for the homeless.
Stark County Homeless Council:
The Stark County Homeless Council (SCHC) is a coalition of various health and human service nonprofit organizations, government entities, and community leaders committed to addressing homelessness in Stark County, Ohio. All partner agencies share a vested interest in preventing and ending homelessness given its prevalence among and impact on their respective client populations. SCHC represents our community’s belief that services to those who are experiencing homelessness or other housing crisis requires collaboration and shared responsibility. SCHC’s function as a neutral and inclusive convener to address homelessness is critical and more important than ever as the national movement to end homelessness calls for even greater collaboration among various systems of care.
The SCHC was formerly known as the Stark County Interagency Council on Homelessness (SCICH). SCICH began in 2004 when federal funding sources – namely the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – required that an independent body review the local Continuum of Care application. The Continuum of Care is a community’s plan to provide housing services to individuals and families along a range of housing needs. With leadership from the Stark County Regional Planning Commission, SCICH was assembled. Membership includes the United Way of Greater Stark County; the cities of Canton, Massillon and Alliance; Stark County Regional Planning; Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority; the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board; local hospitals, including Alliance Community Hospital, Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center; local foundations, including the Stark Community Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton; the Stark County Department of Job and Family Services; Canton City Schools; and others. Homeless service providers are collectively represented on the SCHC by the HSC President, 3 HSC representatives elected by the HSC members and up to two homeless or formerly homeless individuals.
Relation between HSC/Continuum of Care funding: The Homeless Services Collaborative (HSC) and its Planning Committee is the established network of front line homeless service providers. The HSC has identified the full spectrum of needs of homeless families and individuals. The HSC originally established the draft of the local priorities for the CoC which was then modified and adopted by the SCICH. Member agencies implement the components (prevention, shelter, transitional housing, and services) of the CoC system for all homeless subpopulations. Member agencies have signed formal Affiliation Agreements to perform specific aspects of the work of ending homelessness, while cooperating to fill the gaps that still exist.
Project Homeless Connect
Each year the Stark County Homeless Services Collaborative organizes the Project Homeless Connect event to link homeless individuals and families with the services that they need. Hot meals and other helpful items are also provided. For more information, see the Project Homeless Connect website at http://projecthcstarkcounty.weebly.com/
Point in Time Count
The Point in Time Count is conducted by the Homeless Services Collaborative membership in cooperation with SCHC. Click here for more information about the Point in Time Count.
For more detailed information about the Stark County Homeless Services Collaborative contact Margaret Egbert, President of the Homeless Services Collaborative, at email@example.com.