The Santa Rosa Homeless Collective is a group of government agencies and nonprofits working together to reduce homelessness in Santa Rosa. Read the Overview of Santa Rosa Homeless Collective in it’s entirety.
The Santa Rosa City Council has identified “reducing homelessness through a comprehensive strategy” as a significant priority. There are dozens of agencies committing millions of dollars to provide critically important support to the homeless population, including housing, both temporary and permanent, financial aid, drug and alcohol counseling and physical and mental health services. The City of Santa Rosa has contracted with Catholic Charities to administer a Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) that works to engage unsheltered homeless into services and ultimately housing as part of the “Housing First” model. A key deliverable of that contract includes promoting cross-sector collaboration of system partners within the homeless arena. In an effort to improve cross-sector collaboration, the Santa Rosa Homeless Collective (SRHC) was formed in November of 2015.
The SRHC consists of a core group of representatives from the Santa Rosa City Council, Housing and Police Departments, the County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors, Santa Rosa Downtown Development Association, West End Neighborhood Association, Santa Rosa City Schools, San Francisco North Properties, Catholic Charities of the Santa Rosa Diocese, Social Advocates for Youth, Santa Rosa Community Advisory Board and Santa Rosa Together. This Core group employed the services of a pro bono consultant to pursue a Collective Impact Strategy (see description of Collective Impact at bottom of page) to address issues leading to and resulting from homelessness. The core group concluded that large-scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organizations, (based on the research authored by John Kania & Mark Kramer) and that substantially greater progress could be made in alleviating many of our most serious and complex social problems if nonprofits, governments, businesses, and the public were brought together around a common agenda to create collective impact.
Collective Impact is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organizations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change.
The Collective Impact approach is premised on the belief that no single policy, government department, organization or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society. The approach calls for multiple organizations or entities from different sectors to abandon their own agenda in favor of a common agenda, shared measurement and alignment of effort. Unlike collaboration or partnership, Collective Impact initiatives have centralized infrastructure – known as a backbone organization – with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organizations shift from acting alone to acting in concert.
Successful collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce true alignment and lead to powerful results:
- Common Agenda: all stakeholders are invested in a common agenda, have a common understanding of the challenges, and agree upon a coordinated approach to solvency
- Shared Measurement System: all stakeholders contribute to consistent measurement of results, they share knowledge, and provide resources for collecting and analyzing data
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities: all stakeholders participate in mutually reinforcing and results based activities
- Continuous Communication: All stakeholders facilitate clear and continuous communication
- Backbone Function: includes a backbone organization with knowledge of the issue of homelessness, the means and tools to provide staff and advisement