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Marin County – Homeless Outreach Team


In response to persistent high visibility people on the street who were also high utilizers of expensive services, Marin County community began piloting a new approach called HOT (Homeless Outreach Team). Marin created its version of HOT based on what was being done successfully in San Mateo. 

The HOT process in Marin involved:

  1. Create a HOT list, which is a list of the most challenging and hard-to-serve individuals in downtown. The team consulted the Fire Department, Police Department, and downtown outreach workers to identify the chronic homeless. Outreach workers from the San Rafael Police Department and Community Action Marin engage candidates to build trust. Once a person grants permission, they are added to the HOT list.
  1. Bring together every provider of services to the chronically homeless. In Marin, that was St. Vincent’s, Ritter Center, the City of San Rafael, Marin County Health and Human Services, County Mental Health, Probation, Marin Housing Authority, the District Attorney’s Office, Community Action Marin, and Homeward Bound. Create and implement a customized housing plan for each person on the HOT list. Each provider is accountable for completing action items to move a person on the list towards housing. At bi-weekly meetings, each provider reports out on what it accomplished since the last meeting. The goal is to place someone as quickly as possible in permanent housing appropriate for their needs.
  1. Make sure front-line and senior staff are on the HOT team, so that in the process of helping individuals, system gaps that stifle effective service provision can also be addressed. Absolutely vital to this process is to have high level people on the team who can make things happen.

Success of the program is measured by not just housing someone, but keeping them housed. The intensity of services needed to do that require all our public and nonprofit providers to rethink and redesign how services are provided. Case managers ensure that the person is connected to all the services needed to keep him stably housed. With the initiation of the HOT teams, police contacts went from 38.46 per month to 0.04 per month.

The project manager is funded partly by the county, and partly by St. Vincent’s, who is the project manager. Additional contributions come from each of the service providers.  Additional information on the program: 

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