In 2020, the Workforce Development Board received a grant from the State’s Workforce Accelerator Fund (WAF) 8.0 to integrate homeless and workforce services at the system level. Although this grant funded the initial work, it became clear to us that efforts to integrate and align programs would extend beyond the life of the grant.
Our Human Centered Design (HCD) Team met biweekly to research and define the problem, brainstorm and prototype solutions, and eventually implement system improvements. Led by the Workforce Development Board (WDB) and Health, Housing & Homeless Services (H3), the team was made of stakeholders who had an interest in both workforce development and homeless services: Hope Solutions; Martinez Adult Education; Rubicon Programs; SparkPoint; and SHELTER, Inc. The team also included two paid Lived Experience Consultants who informed our work with their insights and kept our solutions practical. One of the consultants now works with the CORE Outreach Team of H3; the other works with RCF Connects on a project focused on alleviating poverty in East Contra Costa County.
To read about our WAF 8.0 grant work, see Integrating Workforce and Homeless Services: An Experiment in Human Centered Design.