Albany Project HOPE - Housing Opportunities Expanded, is a Homeless Outreach and Engagement Program within the City. 

Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP) began providing services and activities for Albany Project HOPE, July 1, 2013. Founded in 1970, BFHP has extensive experience providing services to people who are homeless. After providing outreach, housing placement and housing retention to chronically homeless residents in the City of Albany for the last five years, BFHP has developed a service intensive model that is a best practice. Using Housing First and Harm Reduction principles in combination with intensive and responsive case management (Housing Navigation) services, BFHP has been able to house and retain housing for people who had been chronically homeless for years. Case management (Housing Navgation) tailored to each client's need, daily crisis interventions and community linkages are some of the ways BFHP has used to stably housed individuals.  

Program Philosophy

The Project HOPE Housing Navigator uses a Housing First/ Rapid Re-housing approach to maintain recently housed clients in their housing as well as house additional homeless residents of Albany. Housing First philosophy holds that people's need for housing is a basic need that should be met as quickly as possible. Consistent with Housing First principals, the program uses a Harm Reduction approach when addressing both substance abuse and psychiatric issues. Harm Reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences of high risk behaviors, incorporating a spectrum of interventions from safer use, to managed use, to abstinence. 

Rapid re-Housing (RRH) is an interim housing program for people experiencing homelessness to get quickly re-housed and stay housed. By design, rental assistance is a short and shallow subsidy. Aided by a Housing Navigator, the client is provided supportive services that help make the transition back to independent living within a short time frame. Click here to read the Alameda County RRH policy. 

Staffing

Project HOPE is staffed by one full time Housing Navigator. The program is supervised by BFHP's Senior Coordinated Entry Systems Manager which provides program oversight, and act as the contract liaison with the City of Albany. The Housing Navigator is reachable to clients by phone at (510) 684-2597. 

Services

The goal of outreach continues to be engagement and relationship building to encourage participation in services and housing resolution. Engagement can be a long process and it can take several contacts with a homeless individual before an assessment can be made by the Housing Navigator. Each time the Housing Navigator engages a person, she will offer a Coordinated Entry System (CES) assessment, any available options in shelter and work towards permanent housing solutions. The Housing Navigator will be present during drop in hours of the Human Services Linkages Program currently Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Avenue. 

As the Housing Navigator develops relationships with individuals experiencing homelessness, she will begin the process of CES assessment to establish prioritization for services available across Alameda County and to determine which services are the most effective for the person to resolve their homelessness. The CES assessment focuses on information directly relevant to the client's homelessness and its resolution. The goal of the assessment process is to understand immediate health or safety risks, housing history, strengths and barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing, preferences for housing, and linkages for wraparound services.

After completing the CES assessment, the client will be placed on a county prioritized list and the Housing Navigator will offer available and appropriate services to the client. If applicable, a housing stability plan will be created. The Housing Stability Plan is the basis for all service provision and is a guide for moving the client towards resolving any immediate crises and obtaining sustainable and appropriate, permanent housing as quickly as possible. Once housed, the Housing Navigator will make frequent home visits based on the needs of the client. Home visits enable the Housing Navigator to identify tenancy issues and opportunities for teaching  of skills that are essential for lease renewals, return of tenant's security deposits and good landlord references. 

The Housing Navigator's role is also to make contact with landlords to locate units in Albany and other areas, build relationships with landlords, and work with the client on the move in process. 

  • Click here to view BFHP's Scope of Work
  • Click here for a PDF of the Albany Project HOPE Presentation provided at the Council Meeting April 4, 2016.
  • Click here for a PDF of the BFHP Presentation - Pathway to Housing - provided at the Council Meeting April 4, 2016.

Reports