Heading Home is a collaboration of individuals, public service, and faith-based organizations from the community determined to end homelessness in Jefferson County. Heading Home is a subcommittee of Jeffco Connections (JC), whose mission is "to establish a collaborative leadership that promotes accountable, efficient, cost-effective, and coordinated systems, in an effort to increase the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in Jefferson County." JC has charged Heading Home with the task of developing an Action plan that addresses homelessness in Jefferson County.
The vision of Heading Home is to create a systemic response in Jefferson County, Colorado that prevents and ends homelessness whenever possible, and when it cannot be prevented, ensures it is a rare, brief and one-time experience.
Objectives of the plan include:
Optimize the Housing Crisis Resolution System
Increase Access to and Supply of Supportive
Improve System-Wide Data Collection and Data Sharing
Increase Community Involvement in Support of Homelessness Solutions
Moving Forward to End Homelessness in Jeffco
Over the course of several years, Heading Home has been a catalyst in developing and implementing plans to address homelessness compassionately and effectively in Jefferson County.
One of the accomplishments of Heading Home was the development of solutions to severe weather sheltering for persons experiencing homelessness, including the development of the Severe Weather Shelter Network.
In the efforts to find long-term solutions, Heading Home’s housing work group has been working to identify and develop relationships with housing developers and property owners willing to work with formerly homeless individuals and families. This group also is conducting research on community perspective on having neighbors who may have formerly been experiencing homelessness
This constant work, supported by the community, has allowed local police departments such as Arvada PD, Lakewood PD and Wheat Ridge PD to develop a more compassionate, proactive approach in addressing homelessness.
Jefferson County Public Library identified homelessness as a critical issue they wanted to address and joined Heading Home. JeffCo libraries have played a very active role in addressing homelessness needs, including hiring two special population outreach employees and a licensed clinical social worker.
In addition, Heading Home supported the start-up, development and logistics of Live Well Showers and created an outreach group for Jefferson County. This pilot program kick-started August 2018 in collaboration with Arvada Housing Authority, Wheat Ridge PD, Family Tree and Mean Street Ministry.