CARLSBAD–The City of Carlsbad will provide licensed clinical social workers to work with people experiencing homelessness as part of a new Homeless Response Plan focused on “compassionate enforcement.”
The City Council approved a $245,000 contract Tuesday with Interfaith Community Services, which will provide two full time case workers in Carlsbad to deliver individualized services in the field where they are needed.
The city’s Homeless Response Plan, which was approved by the City Council last fall, sets out to prevent, reduce and manage homelessness in Carlsbad through a variety of strategies, which also include:
- A new homeless outreach team made up of three specially trained police officers who make regular contact with people experiencing homelessness to form relationships, offer referrals to services and ensure they are complying with the law.
- Regular cleanup of encampments to reduce public health and safety risks and other impacts to the community.
- Increasing the supply of affordable housing.
- Providing funding for a temporary shelter for adult men seeking work.
- Coordinating a more comprehensive “point in time” annual homeless count.
- Connecting with regional task forces and other community coalitions to identify additional resources for meeting the needs of Carlsbad’s homeless
- Coordinating with nonprofit service providers in the community.
“People experience homelessness for so many different reasons, a one size fits all approach won’t lead to a long term solution,” said city Community Services Manager Marie Jones-Kirk.
According to Jones-Kirk, the city’s approach is already seeing results, with an average of 15 contacts daily, stronger partnerships with community service providers and a better understanding of the unique needs of Carlsbad’s homeless population.
In January, the city recruited and trained a team of staff and volunteers to participate in the national “Point in Time” homeless count. As a result of the increased focus, the total number of homeless people counted was 210 in 2018, compared to 160 in the 2017 count.
“The number of people counted each year depends greatly on the city’s ability to locate and count the homeless,” said Jones-Kirk. “The 2018 number is likely more accurate than in past years because we now know more about the hidden areas where people seek shelter and sleep.”
The annual count takes place the fourth Friday in January at the same time nationwide. On the West Coast, it starts at 4 a.m.
With the contract for social workers now approved, staff will work with Interfaith Community Services to roll out this part of the homeless response plan and report back to the City Council on progress later this year.
“A city like Carlsbad has the ability to try some new approaches to regional challenges like homelessness,” said Jones-Kirk. “In time, we hope to provide a tested model that other cities could also use.”