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Housing

Street Outreach A New Strategy to Combat Homelessness in Humboldt County

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Naomi August
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Hundreds of people are experiencing homelessness in Humboldt County. One nonprofit group has a new strategy they say emphasizes a personalized approach to getting people off the streets.

Street Outreach has community health workers who perform a needs assessment test for people living on the street, then create an individual plan to meet their needs. After this initial assessment, the people in the program are connected with housing and health resources. Eventually, Street Outreach wants to hire those who have been through the program previously to be peer community health workers.

Sabrina Miller, the Street Outreach program coordinator, says she herself experienced houselessness and this made her and other community health workers better equipped to help.

“I’m using the lived experience I have with living on the streets, dealing with substance abuse, having to navigate service,” says Miller. “I would use that experience and connect with individuals who are living an experience that I once was.”

After the peer community health workers are hired, their duties might include case management, connecting others with services or handing out cold weather gear.

Humboldt County, like many regions in the US, is experiencing a housing shortage. The county has granted Street Outreach over $400,000 to jumpstart the project.

Street Outreach hopes by using a compassionate and individualized approach, there might be more communication between the houseless and the services that are there for them.