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September 24, 2013 > County program targets chronically homeless

County program targets chronically homeless

Submitted By Carol Arata

AC Impact, a new program that seeks out and provides support to some of Alameda CountyÕs most vulnerable chronically homeless individuals, launched August 20th with participants poised to begin receiving services and moving into permanent homes as soon as late August.

AC Impact couples federally funded permanent housing with guided connections to community-based support services including mental and physical health care, move-in support, and legal advocacy. AC ImpactÕs Housing First approach will not only emphasize permanent housing solutions for qualified participants but also provide guidance on the basics of maintaining a household: how to be a good tenant/neighbor, how to budget and pay bills on time, etc.

The AC Impact program is administered by a partnership of non-profit and governmental organizations whose mission is to house, stabilize, and support individuals within Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, and Livermore who meet a set of stringent selection criteria. Helmed by Abode Services and EveryOne Home, partner organizations include: LifeLong Medical Care, Operation Dignity, Local Governmental Entities, Jurisdictional Law Enforcement, and the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.

ÒThe combined experiences and expertise of this coalition is helping to speed the difficult process of identifying the most qualified participants,Ó says Abode Services Executive Director Louis Chicoine. ÒIÕm looking forward to our continued collaboration as we begin housing, supporting, and stabilizing the lives of individuals whose extremely challenging and often traumatic life experiences have led to chronic homelessness.Ó

People who are without stable housing are particularly subject to disease and poor health. They suffer from high rates of asthma, malnutrition, and conditions related to exposure to heat and cold. Moreover, the stress of being homeless, along with being unable to access or afford medication and care, can exacerbate existing chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, or mental health challenges. Many of the people the program serves have been homeless for a year or more, and may have had encounters with other health care and social service systems or with law enforcement that have left them distrustful of mainstream organizations. These chronically homeless individuals tend to be frequent users of emergency services (including hospital emergency rooms, shelters).

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