One California County’s Alternative Housing Model for Its Local Homeless Population

WLA Guest
Written by WLA Guest

By Dave Nyczepir

More than a year ago, Yuba County, in Northern California, opened a 20-unit homeless shelter for temporary stays, and to date, the 14Forward transitional housing program has helped nearly 100 people who were previously unsheltered.

The ages of residents living in the 8-by-14-foot homes range from 18 to 82, many of whom were part of 2014’s rising homeless population among three unsafe Yuba River bottom encampments.

The 14Forward program is the culmination of about 30 local government agencies and outside organizations partnering on alternative housing and client-centered health and human services for its occupants.

“This is a model that could be reproduced throughout the state,” Randy Fletcher, who sits on the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, said in this California State Association of Counties video:

Temporary stays are afforded mental health treatment and counseling, and county employees help them obtain everything from necessary IDs to housing vouchers.

On the employment front, the county helps residents build résumés and provides transportation for off-site interviews and doctor visits. In that way, clients are gradually re-acclimated to society.

“We don’t just want to give them a list of tasks and wish them the best,” said Chaya Galicia, Yuba County homeless project manager. “We want to really come alongside and help them.”

This piece was originally published in Route Fifty, a digital news publication that connects the people and ideas advancing state, county and municipal government across the United States.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yuba’s 14Forward program will be highlighted during Route Fifty’s Navigator Awards event, which will be broadcast on Route Fifty on September 14, at 11:00 a.m. PST.

According to the publication, the “Navigator Awards identify and highlight individuals and teams of state and local innovators, technologists, leaders, and rising stars who have demonstrated their ability to conceive and implement great ideas.”

This particular awards event in Sacramento will highlight innovations in California state and local governments.

Among those speaking will be Jennifer Vasquez, Yuba County’s Director of Health and Human Services, as well as Vance Taylor, Chief of the Office of Access and Functional Needs within the CA Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and a number of other noteworthy California innovators.


  • Ok…not trying to be a downer, but where the heck is Yuba County” and how big is there homeless population? I know this is just a small part of a bigger story as well. However, the problem of homelessness in Southern California is going to take more than a few Tuff Sheds and self congratulatory politicians exposing platitudes of “warm and fuzzy” rhetoric. This is simply going to be the 21st Century version of public housing. In the words of President Obama…”lipstick on a pig is still a pig.”

  • It’s actually somewhat racist…a picture of a Black man smiling and standing in front of a storage shed he can call home. Is this what society thinks of him? I guess a storage shed is a befitting place for him to live based on his stature in society? Words, perception and optics do matter.

  • Conspiracy: Shame on you!! You know damn well the “left” is not responsible for violating the politically correct boundaries. They only create them.

  • Want to make a point, here it is. The left doesn’t truly give a damn about the homeless. If they did all these rich ass Hollywood and Silicon Valley elites would pool their excess billions into housing for them along with job training, or finding along with family reunification and the mental health and health care needs they need. No that’s not on the agenda, better have your photo taken at a shelter dishing up food at some holiday or bashing the right on social media. Have them hang out with them at any of a dozen places I can list and see what they say when they’re done, see what they’re willing to do. They are as phony as Celeste is in being fair in her treatment of Blue.

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