In 2011, a small group of individuals who work with several different programs and projects related to homelessness started having lunch together every month to discuss their work. Members of the group were concerned that, while good work was being done, some important things needed to change in order to make real headway in reducing homelessness in our county. The group first decided that lot more people needed to be involved in the issue. They also concluded that it was necessary to change the community’s system of addressing homelessness. The group raised a modest amount of money from a generous donor and hired a talented individual to coordinate the effort part-time. Initially, the group worked within the existing government framework of homelessness policymaking in the county. Unfortunately, that approach was moving quite slowly. The group shifted gears and decided to create a new organization to engage more of the community and to advocate for change. The small group expanded and diversified. Then the expanded team decided that a big, open gathering would be the best way to enlarge community involvement and publicly launch our new effort. Committees were formed and extensive plans were developed.
In December, 2012, the Smart Solutions to Homelessness Summitwas held at Cabrillo College. More than 250 county residents participated. Building on the excitement the Summit generated, the Smart Solutions to Homelessness Leadership Councilwas formed and leads our work today.