Leaving A Call To Action Plan Blank: And We Got You At The Helm?

Here's what we have been working on to submit as a part of the 1st Private Citizens Report to the Governor, the Legislature and other key stakeholders in January 2016. 

And this just scratches the surface. There is no excuse for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness to leave their Call to Action section blank. 

Then have to temerity. The unmitigated gall. To talk to us about what kind of message it sends when Disney cuts a $500,000 check.

Andrae Baily, the CEO o the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, what kind of message are you sending to the homeless youth in this state when you leave an homelessness action plan blank. Or to the taxpayers. 

You left it blank. 

Let me walk you through what could have been put in that action plan. But leaving it blank. Not an option.

1. Assign a day-to-day Implementation Coordinator. Relying on a day-to-day Implementation Coordinator. Person keeps shared lists of homeless youth, available & affordable units, documents progress, and keeps all the stakeholders up to date.

2. Create and use a shared Housing Master List. To track progress accurately,a separate master list of homeless youth can provide a real-time database for which everyone could work on collaboratively, on one platform. 

3. Providers to identify those people living in PSH (through programs such as CoC PSH), who may no longer need the array of services provided. Those persons are offered rental assistance from another funding source (such as a Housing Choice Voucher), with provision for six months of transitional case management with providers on call, if needed. 

Execute a Memorandum of Understanding between the CoCs and the Housing Authority who would provide the vouchers for those who were ready to transition. This immediately opens up housing units for homeless youth.

4. Employ full-time Housing Locators who primary role is housing navigation. This includes building relationships with landlords, tracking housing referrals to landlord resources, helping match youth to units and showing clients a choice of units. Housing navigation is prioritized as crucial. 

5. Coordinated commitment between school districts, the State Attorneys office, the state child protection agency, the judiciary and law enforcement to expedite the process of obtaining parental/legal guardian consents or court orders that allows for the ability to sign leases, and other legal documents, if between the ages of 16-17 for those eligible homeless youth. 

Appropriate 1 FTE attorney position along with other staffing positions in the State's Attorney Offices to take the lead in this effort with the goal of obtaining the necessary parental/legal guardian signatures or obtaining appropriate court orders within 48 hours of youth eligibility. 

6. Temporarily raise the priority of homeless youth for permanent housing with supportive services for at least 6 months. Commit 7 out of every 10 permanent supportive housing options to homeless youth.

7. Mandatory weekly focus meetings at many levels of leadership and operations, to assess progress and make mid-course corrections as necessary. Bring the right people to the leadership table that could make decisions, commit resources, and agree to course corrections. This level of engagement is critical. Not having the right key leaders present and actively involved will inevitably create delays and frustrate progress.

8. The housing authority to organize a special outreach effort to landlords, including some who had never worked with the housing authority before. The housing authority to distribute a letter, signed by the Mayor, asking property owners with available units to come forward and help end homeless youth in their city. A special briefing, led by the mayor’s aide, to welcome them. 

They are to actively seek out new landlords, make many cold calls to individuals and meeting with them in person. This information is shared with the stakeholders on a shared master list providing real-time landlord information, on one platform. 

Invest in an immediate public media campaign to spur many property owners to contact the housing authority to make a percentage of their available units dedicated to homeless units.

9. Setup housing warehouses so the homeless youth can choose from donated furniture and other household items. Furniture drives to collect donated items. Collect and setup housing starter kits for other household items. Hold public move-in days at least twice month. 

What I'm saying is that you need to get serious about this situation. Leaving an action plan in your own report blank speaks volumes to your actual ability to effectively lead in this statewide initiative. 

And having you direct financial traffic on $7.3 million donated dollars is fiscally frightening. Especially for the $86 million appropriated by the federal government. 

Because every time we look up, you're in the media saying something. And that just doesn't seem apropro. Considering your blank action plan. 

Keep it up.