Build the local team

Step 1: Build the local team

In order to mobilize a community around the housing process, local stakeholders must come together around a common aim, demonstrate a willingness to share information and solutions, combine resources, and share recognition. Communities across the country have created leadership teams to lead strategic planning; the Campaign Team often includes many of these same people but additionally brings some “unusual suspects” to the table.  Anything but “business as usual,” the Campaign Team should be an action and outcomes oriented team that is ready to change systems to drive tangible housing outcomes and sustainable change. 

The challenge:  

  • Power to effect change is diffused across a broad range of stakeholders with overlapping geographical jurisdictions.
  • Funding streams reinforce silos and competition instead of collaboration.
  • Untapped resources:  faith groups, student groups, landlords, volunteers, hospitals and the business community.

The solution:  

  • Create a strong local campaign team that unifies the community around a shared goal of finding and housing the most long-term and vulnerable homeless people in a defined and agreed upon geography – several blocks within a neighborhood or a several neighborhoods within a city. This campaign team takes responsibility and ownership for reducing homelessness in whatever geography is logical for their leadership.
  • Use the Registry Week as an opportunity to build trust, affection, and accountability across a broad range of community stakeholders

Tools:

  • Local Campaign Team worksheet
  • Registry Week preparation worksheet

What You Can Do: 

  • Identify potential allies using the Campaign Team Worksheet as a guide. 
  • Convene a working session with the “core team” – those allies who will be the strongest supporters of the 100,000 Homes Campaign effort locally:
    o    Reach agreement on what areas/institutions you will cover during your Registry week.
    o    Set a date for Registry Week and a housing goal.
    o    Go through the Local Campaign Team worksheet to determine who else you can recruit to join the local team.  When in doubt, remember this motto:  Respect, Empower, Include!
  • Create Task Forces from among your core team:  
    o    A Registry Task Force to coordinate your Registry Week.
    o    A Housing Task Force to begin lining up the housing supply.
    o    A Services Task Force to begin lining up ongoing supportive services.
  • Sign up for the campaign!  Campaign Enrollment Form
  • Recruit your local hospital most impacted by homelessness to join the local campaign team and the Services Task Force.
  • Once you enroll in the campaign, you will be assigned two campaign mentors who will guide you through the entire process.  
  • You will be placed into a cohort with other communities that will be doing a Registry Week in the same quarter as you.
  • Complete the 12-week intensive curriculum – a weekly 1 hour WebEx session with your fellow cohort communities, featuring guest star change agents!

Promising Practices:

  • In Los Angeles County, over twenty four public and private organizations worked together to find and house the 50 most vulnerable people living on the streets of Skid Row.  All stakeholders attended a weekly 7:00 am conference call to tackle difficult inter-agency issues. Together they housed 68 of the most vulnerable people in an average of 12 days from outreach to housing placement.
  • In Long Beach, California, Long Beach Connections created a broad community task force to find and house the most vulnerable homeless people in their community, for the first time tapping into the faith community and student groups.  
  • In Arizona, a for-profit housing agency, the state Veterans department, and the state Department of Economic Security led a 64-agency coalition to find and house the most vulnerable homeless in Maricopa County.  
  • In Hollywood, the Business Improvement District led a broad multi-agency effort to find and house the most vulnerable.
  • In San Diego, the Community Redevelopment Agency contracted with a local organization to spearhead the organization of a strong local campaign team.  

Key Lessons: 

  • It doesn’t matter who takes charge, it only matters that somebody takes charge.  If you’re reading this – you might be the one to take charge! 
  • Don’t wait until you have everybody at the table.  Keep sending the invitations out to everyone, but once you have a critical mass, just get started.