Date

12-2021

Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Department

Health and Human Services

Major

Social Work

First Advisor

Andrea Ibessaine

Abstract

Smart Path to Housing and Health, an agency a part of the Santa Cruz County Department of Human Services is a local homeless action organization that specializes in a coordinated entry system that provides access to housing and service assistance to low income and people who are experiencing homelessness. Homelessness is a complex macro social and health issue that affects the quality of life because it increases unhealthy conditions for people living in poverty or who’s neighborhoods surround these encampments. Contributing factors such as lack of affordable housing, eligibility requirements, poverty, poor physical and mental health, addictions, and broken family relationships have all stemmed from homelessness consequently resulting in chronic homelessness, emotional barriers, and trauma. Evidently, with the rise of Covid-19, homelessness has significantly been impacted due to greater risk of increased homelessness, limited shelter space, and limited social service resources being available during mandatory shelter in place orders. To help protect persons experiencing homelessness during Covid-19, Smart Path has implemented a new tool called the Temporary Permanent Housing Prioritization Tool which was used to prioritize persons who face increased risk of mortality from Covid-19 for rehousing programs. Furthermore, the agency has found that the tool was successful in providing housing opportunities to the individuals and families who went through the triage process of the project. One recommendation for the prioritization process would be to implement ways to prioritize not only elderly and high risk individuals during Covid-19, but to also give an equal opportunity to young adults so that they can also get rehousing opportunities.

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