Leadership Columbus Initiative

By Heather Brown | 19 Oct, 2016

Bill CobunCapital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement Districts worked with the Short North Special Improvement District and the University Special Improvement District on a Leadership Columbus project to tackle the issue of homelessness along the High Street corridor. The project focused on exploring the need for Columbus homeless outreach services in the area from downtown through campus.

The group sought to determine if additional homeless outreach specialists were needed, particularly in the Short North and University District, as CCSID and DSID already have two specialists on staff. The number of homeless camps and basic demographic data about homeless in the area were culled and the types and locations of services available and the approaches taken by similar communities were examined. From this work, Leadership Columbus released three key recommendations for improvement.

The first recommendation is to hire two additional outreach specialists to focus on connecting homeless individuals in the Short North and University District’s  with appropriate services, to help get homeless individuals into permanent housing, to build trust with homeless populations, and to educate those in need of available services. This recommendation mirrors the current efforts of the outreach specialists working for Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs.

Second, the group recommended better coordination of services already available. Defined as the “pastoral” aspect of homeless programs, the aggregated services available, including food, clothing, job training, mental health services, substance use services and transportation, are often duplicated from agency to agency. With improved coordination, resources can be better allocated and invested.

And finally, the group plans to seek funding opportunities to support the first two recommendations. Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs are proud to partner in the effort to improve homeless outreach services to individuals in need Downtown and beyond.Lea