The City of Sequim earlier this year received the 2021 International City/County Management Association’s Local Government Excellence Award for Community Partnership in communities under 10,000 population, in recognition of the development of the Sequim Health & Housing Collaborative (SHHC).
According to city representatives, the SHHC is a collaborative of six local nonprofit agencies formed to better assist the city in responding to substance use disorder, homelessness, mental illness and food insecurity in the community. Participating entities include: Healthy Families of Clallam County; Olympic Peninsula Community Clinic; Olympic Community Action Programs; Peninsula Behavioral Health; Sequim Food Bank, and Sequim Free Clinic.
Following a 2017 Human Services Summit that evaluated the City of Sequim’s human services funding looking for ways to better address the needs of the community, the organizations formed in 2018 and the following year the City of Sequim entered into a three-year, $75,000-per-year contract with SHHC.
In 2020, SHHC launched the Helping Our People Engage (HOPE) Outreach Program. Since its inception, city representatives say, HOPE has documented 832 encounters that prevented 54 households from homelessness, enrolled 78 households in intensive case management programs, and provided 160 shelter nights for households that did not qualify for traditional shelter options.
According to city sources, SHHC also arranged another 569 nights of emergency shelter and provided more than 1 million meals in 2020, twice as many as in 2019.
According to the announcement from International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the award “recognizes the programs or processes that demonstrate innovation, excellence, and success in multi-participant involvement between or among a local government and other governmental entities, private sector businesses, individuals, or nonprofit agencies to improve the quality of life for residents or provides more efficient and effect services.”
ICMA is the world’s largest association of professional city and county managers and other employees who serve local governments offering professional development programs, research, publications, data and information, technical assistance and training to thousands of city, town, and county chief administrative officers, their staffs and other organizations throughout the world.