The Sacramento Steps Forward approach to Assertive Outreach and Referral is well tested and successful; we meet the client where they congregate or reside, develop a relationship based on trust and honesty, and work with them in the field to end their cycle of homelessness.
The Outreach Team, many of whom have lived experience similar to those of our clients, use a variety of best practice engagement strategies to build genuine relationships with clients over time. As a general rule, we do not initiate housing conversations, unless preempted by client request, until the third or fourth client contact when a rapport has been established. At that point, we initiate a strategy of Phased Engagement.
Phased Engagement is a strategic process by which the Outreach Team explores each client’s strengths and opportunities for non-subsidized housing prior to discussing or assessing a person for subsidized housing. In doing so, the initial conversation empowers the client and promotes self-agency rather than creating an unrealistic expectation that a subsidized housing option will be provided forthwith. Also, it helps the Outreach Team reserve Sacramento’s very limited stock of subsidized housing for people who are the most vulnerable and do not have any appropriate alternatives to leaving the street.
The SSF Outreach Team successfully houses 5-7 people per team member per month using our phased engagement strategy with placements in both subsidized housing and non-subsidized housing. While working on housing solutions the Outreach Team directly supports engagement and referrals with a plethora of service providers who help address non-housing related issues that may prevent someone from becoming housed. This may include health, behavioral health, workforce development, social services, documentation acquisition, and more.