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Yakima County Homeless Coalition condenses its 5-year plan goals

The Yakima County Homeless Coalition met Tuesday to go over and update its condensed 5-year plan goals. The task force made up of Yakima County officials and community members narrowed its set of eleven goals down to just five. 

The plan recommends a detailed set of actions the community can undertake to address issues of homelessness, including quickly identifying and engaging people experiencing homelessness through outreach and coordination between every system that encounters people experiencing homelessness. The community is already doing this. Goal two is to operate an effective and efficient homeless crisis response system that swiftly moves people into stable permanent housing. Goal three is to support the development of adequate affordable housing. Goal four is to track and publish data regarding homelessness in the county. Goal five will address disparities among people experiencing homelessness. 

The purpose of the Coalition is to develop and review the Yakima County 5-Year Plan, which gets reviewed annually by the Board of County Commissioners, the local legislative authority that holds the ultimate responsibility for the homeless housing programs within Yakima County.

According to Esther Magasis, the Yakima County Homeless Program Manager, "We really want to make sure that our goals are concise because they need to be measurable and deliverable, and so if we have really, really broad goals, it's going to be difficult for us to hold ourselves accountable to them and then deliver on them."

The Coalition seeks to better understand the scope and causes of homelessness in the valley, the systems in place to address homelessness and considers the range of concerns and potential solutions identified by the community. 

"We have the Rhonda D. Hauff Resource Center now, which was sort of in its infancy and in planning stages before and now it's been established," said Magasis. "So that's been really wonderful that we're able to sort of celebrate those accomplishments people have had within the community, and then move forward together in a more collaborative and effective direction."​​​​​​​

The 5-year plan draft will be finalized and sent to the County Commissioner Dec. 2. Then it gets sent to the state Department of Commerce. "So we finish this at the local level, we send it on to the state, and then we use this 5-year-plan to inform our next funding cycle," said Magasis. 

Magasis said when they administer funds, they have a competitive application process based on people's abilities to fulfill the goals outlined in the plan. ​​​​​​​

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