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Mission Statement | VSSTF Position on Homelessness | The Work of the VSSTF and its Committees 2015-2016

The Ventura Social Services Task Force (VSSTF) is a community-based organization recognized by Ventura County and tasked by the Ventura City Council to end homelessness in the city of Ventura, according to the 10 Year Strategy to End Homelessness for Ventura County. This decade-long project started July 1, 2007 as part of a County- and US-wide effort to use a "Housing First" model to end homelessness with the guidance and support of the United States Interagency Council of Homelessness.

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The mission of the Ventura Social Services Task force (VSSTF) is to create and implement
an integrated community strategy to end homelessness in the City of Ventura.

The goals of the VSSTF include

1. involving a broad cross section of the community, including representatives from
elected officials, governmental agencies and departments, law enforcement,
businesses, social service agencies, charitable foundations, faith-based organizations,
community groups, pubic and private housing developers, homeless individuals and
concerned citizens;

2. developing a common understanding of the root causes and circumstances of
homelessness, how persons are affected, and the impact of homelessness on the
community;

3. identifying current best practices to end homelessness;

4. developing and/or adopting strategic initiatives that identify measurable objectives,
timelines, responsibilities, budgets and sources of resources, including funds.
Strategies include networking, advocacy, public education, and action in the community.


Positions of the Ventura Social Services Task Force on Homelessness

The Ventura Social Service Task Force (VSSTF) agrees with the US Interagency Council on
Homelessness:

No one should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable, place
to call home.

An end to homelessness does not mean that no one will ever experience a housing crisis
again. Changing economic realities, the unpredictability of life and unsafe or
unwelcoming family environments may create situations where individuals, families, or
youth could experience or be at risk of homelessness.

An end to homelessness means that every community will have a systematic response in
place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible or is otherwise a rare,
brief, and non-recurring experience.

To end homelessness, Ventura must have systems and resources in place to:

1. Quickly identify and engage people experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their
homes;

2. Intervene to prevent the loss of housing and divert people from entering the homeless
services system;1

3. Provide, without barriers to entry, immediate access to shelter and to crisis services
while permanent, stable housing and appropriate supports are secured;2 and

4. Quickly connect people experiencing homelessness to housing assistance and to
services tailored to their unique needs and strengths in order to help them achieve and
maintain stable housing.3

The primary barrier to ending homelessness in the City of Ventura is the lack of housing
people on extremely low, fixed incomes can a!ord. Therefore, it is the position of the VSSTF
that the City of Ventura’s housing programs must:

1. Exempt affordable housing from allocation restrictions;

2. Comply with the State’s Housing Accountability Act (Government Code 65589.5);

3. Include a plan to entice and assist developers to build the number of housing units
specified in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) at extremely low, very
low, and low income a!ordability rates; and

1 The Homeless Prevention Committee, which meets the third Wednesday of each month at 1 pm at the Salvation
Army at 155 S. Oak Street, Ventura, is working to be sure adequate systems and resources exist in this area.

2 The Interim Housing Committee, which meets the third Tuesday of each month at 1 pm at Orchard Community
Church, 8180 Telephone Road, Ventura, is working to encourage the development of adequate systems and
resources in this area.

3 The Housing People Can Afford Committee, which meets the third Monday of each month at 3 pm at the UU
Church of Ventura, 5654 Ralston, is working to encourage the development of adequate systems and resources in

4. Include a plan for Permanent Supportive Housing for disabled (mentally, physically, or
developmentally) chronically homeless citizens of the community who are on
extremely low, fixed incomes.


Current Projects of the Ventura Social Services Task Force and its Committees

VSSTF and its committees are working to ensure that the systems and resources
necessary to end homelessness exist and are easy for those in need to access:

1. VSSTF
1.1. supports and encourages the work of the current H2H program and
1.2. supports the coordinated entry process as outlined by the Continuum of

2. The Homeless Prevention Committee is
2.1. working to increase funding for homeless prevention,
2.2. seeking ways to better coordinate all homeless prevention services that
2.3. striving to ensure that people needing homeless prevention services are quickly

connected to available resources.

3. Bridge Housing Committee is
3.1. evaluating options for the development of bridge housing,
3.2. researching housing and supportive services for possible coordination in
3.3. working with private providers to develop a plan for bridge housing, and
3.4. continuing to be supportive of agencies assisting the immediate needs of
the homeless of Ventura until appropriate bridge housing facilities are in place.

4. The Housing People Can Afford Committee is
4.1. developing options to expand the availability of housing people can
4.2. researching opportunities for housing development and working to match
4.3. advocating for the development of extremely affordable housing,
4.4. developing a comprehensive plan for permanent and extremely
affordable housing to submit by March, 2016, to the Ventura City Council;
4.5. assessing and evaluating different types of housing and locations for
permanent housing that people with income levels between $800 and $1,200 income per
month can afford (rents would be between $500 and $800 per month).

5. The Faith Subcommittee seeks to
5.1. enhance coordination among all of the faith groups in the city providing
5.2. strengthen two-way information sharing between the city-wide faith
5.3. facilitate congregations’ and individual members’ active engagement with
5.4. build community.

6. The Education and Advocacy is working to share these talking points with the
community through newspaper articles, letters to the editor, workshops, films,
and a speakers bureau.

 
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