Friday Memo, County of Nevada
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A Year in Review: Efforts to Address Homelessness in 2017

Looking back at the past year, the Nevada County Health and Human Services Agency has taken major steps to address homelessness in Nevada County.

Starting in February of 2017, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors identified homelessness as a top Board priority. Shortly after, the County convened a multi-organizational Homeless Process Improvement Group (HPIG) to address the issues and service gaps around homelessness and at-risk populations. The HPIG met four times and identified nearly 40 service gaps for the homeless population in Nevada County. Since the first meeting, the County and community partners have made significant progress on over half of the identified gaps including the Sheriff's office changing the release time of inmates at the jail from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., opening the Bost House that will house 19 citizens for residential and substance abuse treatment, and exploring housing development sites for the No Place Like Home permanent housing project to create more affordable housing locally.

In the middle of summer, Nevada County hired Brendan Phillips to fill the newly created Housing Resource Manager position within the Health and Human Services Agency. Brendan has been tasked with coordinating all County housing related services, serving as a single point of contact to the many community based organizations that provide homeless services, and identifying new funding sources for housing projects and homeless services.

In September, Nevada County Behavioral Health Department secured renewal funding for its key permanent supportive housing programs. These programs help house a minimum of 18 individuals within our community's most vulnerable mentally ill population.

One month later in October, Brendan participated in the Interfaith Summit with various interfaith community partners and re- introduced the "Family Circle" concept, a nomadic housing model that would free up shelter capacity and reduce waitlists for spots at family shelters like the Salvation Army's Booth House. That same month, Nevada County Behavioral Health expanded funding to Hospitality House to support local homeless outreach services in addition to funding two additional, full-time homeless outreach case managers.

At the upcoming January 9th Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board will be asked to approve additional funding to support Nevada County's homeless population this winter, matching funding with the City of Grass Valley to help fund overflow shelter at Hospitality House for an additional 15 bed capacity. Michael Heggarty, Nevada County Health and Human Services Director, will also be presenting the County's future plans to address homelessness, detailing short term and long term agency goals, budget needs, and anticipated funding sources. 


Photo of hands piled on top of each other

Nevada County Volunteer Connection

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Nevada County (RSVP), a program of Agency on Aging/Area 4, stopped serving Nevada County effective December 31, 2017.  This program connected over 400 retired and senior Nevada County volunteers who dedicated nearly 60,000 volunteer hours with local non-profits, government and small business annually.

In an effort to keep this important resource in our community, Nevada County is pleased to announce that we are looking to re-boot and expand this program to one that would serve all ages, and continue to serve a variety of local non-profits and government agencies.  Currently, Nevada County is seeking Letters of Interest from the community to manage this program.

The County invites interested parties to submit Letters of Interest (LOI) for consideration to maintain a volunteer data base and match volunteers with community agencies. Please see the Nevada County Purchasing Department bid postings page, or call Mike Dent, Director of Social Services, at (530) 265-1410 or Tamaran Cook, Adult Services Program Manager, at (530) 265-7160.  LOIs are due by 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 23rd.


Photo of Seth Shapiro, Nevada County's new HR Director

Seth Schapiro, New HR Director, Starting January 29th 

Seth Schapiro will start as Nevada County's Director of Human Resources later this month on January 29th.  Seth has over thirty years of experience in labor relations and organizational development, including over seventeen years as the head of Human Resources for a labor organization.  As a consultant for both private and governmental agencies, Seth has diagnosed organizational needs and the strategic steps to implement change.  He has been hired to facilitate negotiations, and help the County continually improve its effectiveness.
 

As a principle leader in the restructuring and consolidation of nine public employee unions into one large organization, he developed, implemented and supervised all aspects of the new operational structure and the Human Resources and Labor Relations program. Seth has developed programs and conducted trainings for over 5,000 employees in areas such as communication, strategic planning, negotiation training, and employment law training.


Seth's experience has shown that both transparency and collaboration are core ingredients to a successful human resources and labor relations system. He holds a degree from UC Berkeley, and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. In addition to his certification and education, Seth is a trained mediator and facilitator.


Nevada County CPS Meets All Seven Federal Outcome Performance Measurements

In 2001, the California Legislature passed the Child Welfare System Improvement and Accountability Act (AB 636). The groundbreaking legislation was designed to improve outcomes for children in the child welfare system while holding county and state agencies accountable for the outcomes achieved. This statewide accountability system went into effect January 1, 2004.

In order to maintain accountability, seven Federal Outcome Measures were created that were designed to gauge compliance with the objectives of safety, permanency and well-being for children involved in the child welfare system. Each Outcome Measure is a performance indicator used to set the National Standards by evaluating administrative data that is gathered for each county and made available to the public on a quarterly basis. Measures include outcomes related to maltreatment in foster care, recurrence of maltreatment, timely exits to permanency (i.e. reunification, adoption, and guardianships), reentry into foster care, and the stability of foster care placements.

Nevada County Child Protective Services (CPS) received the latest performance data for the Federal Outcome Measures from University of California, Berkeley's California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP) for the 3rd quarter of 2017. For the second time since AB 636 was put into effect, Nevada County CPS has exceeded the National Standards for all seven Federal Outcome Measures.  As a point of reference, Nevada County was only one of two counties in California to meet all seven Federal Outcome Measurements for this reporting period.  On average, California counties only met five of the seven Outcome Measurements during this review period.

This is a significant accomplishment. Meeting the National Standards of providing safety, permanency and well-being for children involved in child welfare could not have been accomplished by CPS without the help of strong local partnerships that provide support through the entire range the continuum of care- from prevention, to intervention, all the way through aftercare. It is a community effort to help children become successful adults on Nevada County. 

If you have any further questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact Nevada County Child Protective Services Program Manager, Nicholas Ready at (530) 265-1654 or nicholas.ready@co.nevada.ca.us.


Nevada County Unemployment Rate Continues to Decrease

A recent report from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) shows continued improvement in Nevada County's labor market. Preliminary numbers indicate that the unemployment rate in Nevada County ticked down to 3.4% in November 2017, an unemployment rate that Nevada County hasn’t seen in almost 20 years, since November of 1999. That's down in comparison to November of last year which saw a 4.5% unemployment rate. Furthermore, the year-to-year improvement comes even as more people have entered the labor force. In Nevada County the increase in employment has outpaced the increase in people entering the labor force, resulting in a decrease in unemployment.

The improvement mirrors State and National trends, but Nevada County continues to perform better than most California counties and the nation. Our unemployment rate of 3.4% is lower than the 4.1% national rate, and we rank as the fourteenth lowest rate in California, significantly outperforming the 4.0% statewide average. This represents a marked improvement since the historic "Great Recession" where Nevada County's unemployment rate peaked at 12.2% in 2010. At the time our unemployment rate was on par with the statewide rate, and significantly above the national unemployment rate, which peaked around 10%. The decreased unemployment shows continued slow but steady improvement for the economic picture in Nevada County.

The November report from the California EDD can be fo­und on their website.


Ask Nevada County platform on phone, tablet, and computer

Use 'Ask Nevada County' for Public Works Service Requests

Over the past 18 months, the Nevada County Department of Public Work has utilized the 'Ask Nevada County' online citizen service request system to track and monitor road maintenance service requests throughout Nevada County. On August 16, 2017, Nevada County publicly launched 'Ask Nevada County' and offered a free mobile app for users to submit service requests through their smartphones and online. 'Ask Nevada County' also expanded to include a myriad of additional services provided by the county. Residents now have additional options to engage with their government, gain greater insight into issues in their community, and quickly see how Nevada County has worked to solve their issues and concerns.

With the first full calendar year wrapped up using 'Ask Nevada County', the County received 828 service requests from the public during that time. Pothole and pavement maintenance topped the list of most frequent requests for 2017, with 202 service requests. Other popular service requests in 2017 included drainage concerns (188) and roadside tree, vegetation, and brush concerns (130). The winter storms of 2017 caused service requests to surge in early 2017, as the county received a combined 227 service requests during the months of January and February. December saw the lowest number of service requests, with only 35 being submitted during that month. While most service requests were submitted through the website platform, 18 service requests were submitted using the Android and iPhone mobile apps in 2017.

Over 95% of service requests submitted in 2017 through 'Ask Nevada County' have been completed.

The 'Ask Nevada County' mobile app is available for free in Apple's App Store or in Android Google Play. To submit a service request through 'Ask Nevada County' online, visit Nevada County's public website at www.MyNevadaCounty.com.

For more information on 'Ask Nevada County', please contact the Department of Public Works at (530) 265-1411.


Photo of Gold Country Stage Bus at Tinloy Transfer Station in Grass Valley

Gold Country Stage Free Fare Days January 11th - 13th

Gold Country Stage will be providing a system wide Free Fare Days on all routes from January 11th through January 13th. Nevada County Transit Services has received a Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) air quality grant that provides public transit funding assistance for projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility.

Heading to the Wild and Scenic Film Festival next weekend? Go Green and take Gold Country Stage to your film venue in Nevada City and Grass Valley. Passengers may use local routes to film festival venues, and Route 1 runs between Nevada City and Grass Valley every hour with connections to all other routes.

All Routes will be operating their normal schedules, days, and times: on Thursday, 1/11, and Friday, 1/12, from 5:50 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, 1/13, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with free fares for all.

Bus schedules are available in the Gold Country Stage Rider's Guide, at www.GoldCountryStage.com or call the office (530) 477-0103 x 0 for travel planning information.


California Arts Council logo

California Arts Council Grant Opportunities

The California Arts Council announced that grant season for fiscal year 2017/18 has begun, with 11 grants currently open for applications and several others opening later this year.

According to the California Arts Council, "State arts funding saw a significant permanent increase this year... This grant season stands a good chance of beating the number of grants awarded for the 2016/17 fiscal year - already more than we've awarded in more than a decade!"

Available grants include a variety of arts related projects and initiatives, including arts education, cultural pathways, local impact grants for community driven projects, reentry through the arts, organizational and professional development for nonprofit arts organizations and their employees, veterans in the arts, and more.

More information about available grants, application deadlines, and guidelines can be found on the California Arts Council website, or their 2017/18 Grant Programs flyer.


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