From Shelter to Stability: YCCA Celebrates Project Homekey Achievements

June 20, 2024 | Category: Community Impact

 Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA) is proud to share the lasting impact of our collaboration with Project Roomkey and Project Homekey. Launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these initiatives provided safe haven and support for those experiencing homelessness in Yolo County.

Project Roomkey, launched in April 2020, offered a non-congregate shelter option, ensuring social distancing during a critical time. YCCA played a vital role from the very beginning by providing case management services to residents. As the pandemic response evolved, so did our approach. Recognizing the need for a more comprehensive solution, Project Homekey emerged in February 2021. YCCA continued its on-site presence, providing person-centered case management, housing navigation assistance, and supportive services for over four years. These services empowered participants to overcome obstacles and successfully transition to stable housing.

Helping Participants Build Pathways to Permanent Housing

YCCA’s compassionate team worked hand-in-hand with Project Homekey participants to address the unique challenges they faced in obtaining permanent housing. These barriers often included lack of identification documents such as birth certificates or social security cards, mental health concerns like depression or anxiety, substance use issues, and difficulties in developing essential independent living skills such as accessing food, or maintaining a household. Our holistic approach focused on building relationships and supporting each individual to see their own innate strengths and resilience. This included:

  • Conducting collaborative needs assessments and co-creating personalized service plans
  • Walking alongside participants in obtaining vital documents like birth certificates and ID cards
  • Connecting participants to healthcare, mental health support, harm reduction and substance use recovery programs
  • Offering guidance and encouragement in employment, housing applications, and independent living skills
  • Providing regular check-ins to celebrate progress and offer ongoing support

Throughout the project, Project Homekey provided a safe haven for 290 individuals. Remarkably, 129 participants (44%) successfully transitioned into permanent housing, a testament to their strength and determination, and the power of the support system YCCA and our partners helped create.

Wrap-Around Services: A Community of Care

Beyond serving residents, Project Homekey became a beacon of hope for the broader community, offering essential walk-up services for those experiencing homelessness. YCCA distributed 7,865 emergency food bags and supported around 130 unique individuals each week with vital resources like clothing, hygiene kits, transportation passes, and referrals to shelters and other services. This community-facing component fostered a sense of belongingness and ensured that help was readily available to those who needed it most.

Stories of Resilience and Transformation

While YCCA facilitated this journey, the true heroes are the individuals we had the privilege to serve. Their awe-inspiring stories of resilience and transformation fuel our passion and remind us of the incredible strength of the human spirit:

  • David, who once struggled with addiction and a criminal record, secured permanent housing after YCCA connected him to harm reduction services and legal assistance. His unwavering commitment to positive change, despite the obstacles, exemplifies the strength within our clients.
  • A client who wished to remain anonymous found renewed hope after YCCA helped her access critical documents, transportation to treatment, and linkage to a Public Defender who got her criminal case dismissed. Her quiet determination to build a better life shone through every step of the way.
  • Johnnie, who had experienced years of homelessness living out of his truck, increased his employability and income with YCCA’s help securing identification documents and a part-time job at the motel. His readiness to embrace opportunities and work towards stability was nothing short of inspiring.

These stories illustrate the power of YCCA’s person-centered, relationship-based approach and the incredible resilience of the individuals we served.

Looking Ahead

As we reflect on this transformative collaboration with our residents and community partners, we are filled with immense gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives. The experience of working alongside our clients, partners, and the broader community has been a deeply humbling and enriching journey, teaching us invaluable lessons about the power of human connection.

The time has come for YCCA to step back from Project Homekey and entrust this crucial work to another nonprofit organization. We are confident that they will continue to build upon the progress made and further advance the mission of supporting individuals experiencing housing insecurity in our community.

YCCA’s commitment to uplifting individuals and families experiencing housing insecurity remains unwavering. Our Housing Stabilization Program addresses more than just a basic need. A safe home provides a strong foundation for families to grow closer and connect with their communities.

Our program helps families find housing that meets their needs. Eligible families can get financial help for things like rent, security deposits, and moving costs. After signing up, families may also receive food vouchers and help with transportation. For support, reach out to our Housing Stabilization Program at our Family Resource Center.

YCCA’s Family Resource Center serves as the central hub linking families to essential services like financial assistance, parenting classes, health insurance enrollment, and more. Our multilingual staff ensures access to fundamental resources for stability. Through our Family Resource Center’s comprehensive array of services, we will continue to walk alongside our community, ensuring that all Yolo County residents have access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

The resilience demonstrated by our staff and the individuals we serve throughout this journey will forever inspire us as we work together to build a stronger, more equitable future for all.