REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.-- The City of Redwood City recently launched a two-year pilot program run by the Downtown Streets Team to help individuals who are currently homeless, or at-risk of becoming homeless, transition into long-term employment and housing.
The Downtown Streets Program provides these residents in need with volunteer work experience they need to gain the necessary skills to get jobs, as well as basic needs stipends, employment resources and intensive case management. Volunteer work will include litter pickup, emptying trash receptacles and reporting vandalism and graffiti. As part of the program, participants will be offered social work services to help them find jobs and learn about other support programs available, including low income housing opportunities.
To participate, people experiencing homelessness should attend a Downtown Streets Team Weekly Success Team Meeting, held every Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Dragon Theatre, located at 2120 Broadway in Redwood City. At the beginning of the program the volunteers will focus on downtown from 8 a.m. to noon daily. Soon, the team will soon expand it to other areas of the city.
"City Council members and staff are looking forward to partnering with the Downtown Streets Team, a program which has proven successful in other cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento, to take on this important challenge," said Redwood City Mayor Ian Bain. "We chose this program because it was recognized in the 2018 Homelessness Task Force Report as one of five evidence-based best practices for addressing homelessness in the State of California. It's vital we empower our homeless community to be a part of the solution to their struggles, which is a major part of their successful transition back into work and housing."
Redwood City has a significant number of homeless individuals living within the city, estimated at 221 unsheltered individuals during the San Mateo County One Day Homeless Count in January 2019. Since chronically homeless individuals are among the most challenging populations to serve with previously existing programs and resources, last March the City Council directed city staff to develop a two-year Downtown Streets Team pilot program, based on a model that has successfully helped chronically homeless individuals transition into long-term employment and housing throughout the state. To date Downtown Streets Team has secured over 1,900 permanent homes and jobs for people throughout California.
"Our approach is unique in that we not only challenge Team Members to take an active role in their own recovery, but we also empower them to create long-term solutions for their peers," said Matty Shirer, the Redwood City Downtown Streets Team project manager. "By having the opportunity to tell their stories at schools, churches, social organizations, and business associations, and providing needed community services, our Team members are changing perceptions about homelessness in their communities."
City staff expect the Downtown Streets programto cost $378,664 per year to operate, or $757,328 over two years.
Jeanne Sullivan Billeci, City Manager's Office