The Curry Homeless Coalition was formed in April of 2007 comprised of concerned citizens, agencies and businesses. The coalition identified goals and projects it would need to complete before they could begin the process of writing their 10 year plan.
The coalition’s purpose in developing their plan is to bring awareness to their communities and to develop solutions and resources to achieve a reduction in the homeless population. Numerous studies have cited the financial burden placed on law enforcement, emergency services, hospitals, and mental health agencies in the communities in which homeless individuals and families do not have access to adequate housing and support services. In addition, there is a perception that economic development may be affected by the presence of chronically homeless persons in the business districts.
The Curry Homeless Coalition members recognize the many obstacles they needed to face to address the issues of homelessness in their county; scattered homeless throughout a large geographical region, limited or no access to transportation, limited or no resources, continuing decline in the economy and declining job opportunities, and many other barriers. Carrying out the plan will require deliberate, thoughtful planning and wise use of resources. Collaborations and partnering with area agencies and other service organizations will be key to relieving instances of homelessness and addressing long term solutions. Currently, there are more than 200 persons in the county considered to be homeless, that number is on the rise. Research suggests that the chronic homeless population consumes up to 50% of area resources. Housing this population could reduce the drain on resources by half.
They first needed to assess the current services in the county, the number of individuals or families being served, and what are the gaps in current services. Twenty-seven local agencies were assessed, including state and county supported agencies, local non-profits, religious organizations, and individuals who were serving the needs of the homeless.
Next, the coalition crafted a comprehensive survey to be administered to the homeless persons in Curry County. The survey contained 31 questions covering personal demographics to causes and effects of homelessness.
During the fall of 2008 through the spring of 2009, volunteer coalition members went out into the homeless communities and personally surveyed individuals and families; a total of 102 homeless persons were identified. The coalition is aware of many more homeless persons in the county who were not counted or surveyed. The very nature of homelessness lends itself to inaccurate data, because many episodes of homelessness are short-term situations, not all individuals are accurately accounted for, and determining causes changes frequently. Additionally, many homeless people wish to remain anonymous, living on the edge of society.
Next, the coalition selected a planning group that would research, plan and write the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Curry County. The planning committee was comprised of a diverse group of citizens, business leaders, religious organizations, government, service agencies and persons directly or indirectly affected by homelessness. This group met twice monthly, with the objective to complete the draft plan in 6 months. The planning group started by reviewing the surveys, assessments and researching local and regional data pertaining to homelessness.
The Curry Homeless Coalition recognized the need for a “housing first’ model to address issues of homelessness. The coalition’s goal to end homelessness in Curry County requires traditional and non-traditional ways of thinking about housing. New partnerships and collaborations will have to be established between government and the public. Moving people into a permanent housing situation is needed for the coalition to succeed. Along with a “housing first’ goal, six additional goals were identified to support the plan. The 10 year plan was complete in 2010 and submitted to the Governor’s Office and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.
“I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to receive your plan. I often have to work pretty hard to push things along and get a local plan up and running. You and your colleagues in Curry County have not only completed a plan but have done a superb job. It has all the fundamentals of a successful plan, thoroughly directed towards housing solutions, and oriented towards measurable outcomes.”
Paul Carlson, Regional Coordinator
US Interagency Council on Homelessness
The Curry Homeless Coalition then developed their governing documents in order to pursue a non-profit status with the IRS. A board of directors was established and they received their 501(c)3 status.
The Coalition Board members are long-standing members of our county with a passion and commitment to serve the needs of our most vulnerable population. They have dedicated many years to develop and implement a plan that will meet these needs.
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Curry Homeless Coalition
PO Box 349
Gold Beach OR 97444