BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON – Getting help for those who are homeless, not only as soon as possible but with appropriate help, is being endorsed by county officials.
It means not only finding those who are homeless, but getting them in touch with appropriate agencies that can provide help. It also means eliminating duplication of services being offered potentially by more than one governmental or non-profit agency.
“It’s so nice to see everybody in Davis County really pulling together,” said Daneen Adams, assistant director of the Family Connection Center and coordinator of the effort.
That means Davis Behavioral Health, Department of Workforce Services, Davis School District, the Family Connection Center and other agencies that assist the homeless are included.
Davis Behavioral Health can assist those with serious emotional/mental health issues, while Family Connection Center could help with rapid rehousing, for example, she said.
Farmington resident Ashley Tolman is leading a homelessness support effort. The Farmington resident is special projects manager for the State Community Service Office of Housing and Community Development, Division.
“She helped us understand about the continuum of care, what the state has available, and how we fit into that,” said County Commissioner Louenda Downs.
“We are applying a collective impact to the homeless in Davis County. We all have a common agenda, a system to help families and individuals who become homeless. We want to return them to housing within 30 days, or sooner, if possible,” she said.
At last Tuesday’s commission meeting, Tolman was due to present the state’s program, followed by the commission unveiling a similar effort in the county, Downs said.
There are homelsss in the county, but not those found beneath underpasses or in poor sections of town, Adams said.
Some of them are spread in pockets around the county, including the unincorporated area south of the North Salt Lake City boundary, around Redwood Road.
A homeless count will be taken Jan. 29-31 throughout the county, Downs said.
Volunteers will be sought to fan out to seek out those who are homeless. The volunteers will interview those they find about what their needs are, ask to take their photo, as a way to more easily get back in contact with them, Downs explained.
“We haven’t been going out and finding them,” Adams said of the truly homeless.
“We’ve been interviewing people in the jail or domestic violence shelter. If you’re in a shelter, you have a roof over your head,” no matter what else you’re dealing with, she said.
The biggest number of homeless found in previous counts, by far, were those technically considered homeless at the jail or shelter.
Next January’s count will go beyond that, Adams emphasized.
In Salt Lake County, 140 volunteers were enlisted in a similar effort, recently.