June 21, 2019 – On Monday, June 24th, Nevada County, in partnership with Hospitality House, Turning Point Community Programs and AMI Housing is proud to launch the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) team. Comprised of 8 dedicated staff members, each partner agency brings specialized expertise and resources to the table. Residents can contact the HOME team to express concern for someone they think may need help or services, or those who are experiencing homeless and are looking to connect with services themselves, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling (530) 470-2686 or emailing home@co.nevada.ca.us

With one phone call (during business hours) you can reach someone who can work to connect the person to a variety of services including treatment, mental health, physical health and even housing.

The HOME team is comprised of eight members: four outreach workers, 2 housing navigators a peer supporter (someone with lived experience with homelessness), and a registered nurse. The goal of the team is to identify, engage, provide case management and housing support to highly vulnerable homeless residents of Nevada County.

The addition of a registered nurse brings an innovative element to the team. Prioritizing health needs will provide immediate care, build trust, and allow case managers to better assist individuals with accessing other services. The 2019 Point in Time count for Nevada County found 34% of Individuals (118 people) experiencing homelessness in Nevada are chronically homeless meaning they have been on the street for more than 365 days and have a disabling condition that contributes to their homelessness. These disabling conditions are often very complex and involve mental health, physical health or substance use issues. While mental health and substance use are incredibly important to address, all too often severe, chronic physical health needs are a primary concern for people living on the street. By addressing these needs quickly, HOME case managers can be more effective at connecting people to treatment and mental health services.

The Team will be out in the community 5 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. taking calls, checking messages and providing services throughout the area. In other words, the HOME team is meeting people where they are at. The team will coordinate and communicate regularly with Law Enforcement Agencies, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, substance use treatment providers, the Crisis Stabilization Unit and nonprofit social services organizations like FREED and Communities Beyond Violence.

Over the coming year, the HOME team will work hard to introduce itself to the broader community. It will report its activities, success and challenges monthly at the Nevada County Continuum of Care meetings (3rd Thursday of the month, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Empire Room at the Eric Rood Building, 950 Maidu Ave, Nevada City). The team will also attend other community meetings to answer questions and receive feedback.

Collaborative efforts like the HOME team have made Nevada County a state leader in delivering innovative broad-based community programming that address homelessness. The collaborative nature of the HOME team shows that in a small rural county we are, truly, better together.