By Breanna Jaijairam
In April 2018, Harbor Interfaith Services began its formal partnership with the City of Long Beach Continuum of Care through a housing project on the campus of Century Villages at Cabrillo in Long Beach, CA. The housing project is entitled Harbor Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Harbor PSH has housed 13 individuals from the City of Long Beach. These individuals were identified through a by-name list which included Long Beach CoC’s top 20 individuals as it relates to highest acuity and chronic homelessness. The combined total years of homelessness for all 13 individuals living in Harbor PSH is 135 years, and the average acuity score is 13.
Since June 30th, 2018, Harbor PSH has maintained 100% occupancy and retention. These occupancy and retention rates would not be possible without the strong collaboration Harbor Interfaith Services has with the City of Long Beach Department of Health Services staff and other partners. Other partners include Occupational Therapy, ROADS Community Care Clinic, DPSS IHSS, MHALA Homeless Innovations Project, Lutheran Social Services CBEST Program, Long Beach HEART Team, Long Beach Police Department and Century Villages at Cabrillo. In conjunction with the ongoing collaboration, Harbor Interfaith Services also employs two full-time case managers for coverage seven days a week along with a resident assistant who is available during hours when case managers are not on-site.
The case managers work with the clients in Harbor PSH towards their desired goals which include engagement with primary healthcare doctors, ongoing mental health treatment, meaningful daytime activities and working on plans to increase income. Because there are just 13 individuals living at Harbor PSH, the case management can be intensive and quite a bit of time can be spent with each client one on one.
Harbor PSH is a model of housing first and harm reduction practices which have allowed individuals with many barriers to moving into dignified housing. The collaboration that has taken place and continues to take place has allowed folks to transition into housing with all supports necessary for success.
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About Harbor Interfaith
The mission of Harbor Interfaith Services is to empower the homeless and working poor to achieve self-sufficiency by providing support services including shelter, transitional housing, food, job placement, advocacy, childcare, education, and life-skills training.
Now celebrating its 43rd year, Harbor Interfaith is the result of a 1987 merger between two San Pedro organizations: FISH, The Emergency Food Pantry and Advocacy Center (1975); and Harbor Interfaith Shelter (1983). The unification integrated the delivery of the most fundamental human services–nutrition and shelter–and enabled clients to be treated holistically. This historic structure also provided a base from which the agency flourished. FISH inspired various community-wide education/outreach initiatives, and the Shelter became the wellspring for residential services, particularly those designed for homeless women with children. Subsequent early childhood and after-school education programs yielded a comprehensive and advanced menu of services.