Homeless Peer to Peer Program: The community feedback period for this idea began on 8/9/2018 and ended on 10/9/2018. *STATUS UPDATE*

What is the problem that needs to be addressed? Please describe how it is related to mental health.

A significant problem in the homeless world is the lack of work options or income in trying to connect to housing.  Very businesses are open to hiring the homeless, especially those with mental health issues.  At the same time, the homeless population remains guarded in working with service providers or HCA clinic systems.  How do we engage the homeless population with mental health issues, and find work options to procure income that would allow for rental housing to be procured?

Why is this a concern for Orange County? What can Orange County and other counties learn from this project?

The homeless population grows every day.  Finding options for homeless individuals to connect to resources like employment and housing is a struggle for everyone.  Engaging and training the homeless population in OC to mentor other homeless individuals struggling with mental health issues would create a cycle of education, stabilization, and income that could be used for obtaining housing.  OC can learn how to engage the homeless population in a new way, and measure the impact of engaging  homeless as mentors to encourage others into treatment, services, and housing.

What is currently being done to resolve this problem in our county and throughout the United States? If applicable: Is it working; why or why not?

I have not seen any situations where homeless were hired as mentors to work with other homeless individuals

What is new or different about this project idea? Please describe how this differs from what is already being done (Question 6). Please list any research that was done on this topic.

Many mental health programs encourage hiring of individuals with lived experience, but none hire homeless to help other homeless.

What is the project idea? Please describe how this project will operate.

A contractor will create a curriculum to hire and train a group of homeless individuals to mentor other homeless individuals to link to mental health services and housing.  The hired mentors will work with the contract staff for support, and a percentage match of their salary would be used to procure rental housing stock for them.

Additional Information

Respondent skipped this question.

July 24, 2018


What type of housing would be available using the “housing stock” and how long would it take to get into housing?

Would depend on variety of factors including if needs to start at the beginning by completing VI-SPDAT assessment to access the county’s continuum of care housing stock. If already assessed, then could follow up with CoC to see if housing voucher, certificate, or PSH is next step. If person has income source through this program, are they able to access rented rooms, room and board, etc. and be housed that way as well.

What would the learning objectives be?

Does providing employment and income to homeless participants increase access to housing and reduction in overall length of homelessness. Also, does using homeless as peers increase other homeless participants willingness to access services and housing?

Would the contracted staff also be providing support to the homeless staff?

Please describe the day to day operations of this program idea so we can better understand how it will run.

Referrals obtained through county’s outreach and engagement program, bhs clinics/fsp, etc. Once referred, a pilot group of 10? Goes through peer training and is either already housed or gets housed. That peer group will then go into the community and refer next group of 10? To begin the housing process. They work with support services to house the next group, and see if any wish to go on to become peers.

Innovations Team

Thank you for your idea submission. Upon review and discussion, it was determined that this idea is similar to what is currently being done via county outreach services and it is unclear what new learning this project could contribute to new learning in the field of mental health. As a result, the Innovation team is unable to continue exploring this idea under the MHSA Innovation component as currently proposed.

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