Drinking Water

Whole Person Care homeless pilot program and safe drinking water forum collect high honors

AUBURN, Calif. — Placer County received five awards from the California State Association of Counties, the organization announced this week, all for Health and Human Services (HHS) programs. The CSAC awards spotlight the most innovative programs developed and implemented by California counties.

Placer was one of just 11 counties to receive a Challenge Award, and in fact received two. The first went to the Public Health division for its Whole Person Care pilot program, aimed at high-risk homeless individuals. In its first year of operation, the program has housed more than 75 people and served more than 240 clients overall, including many with severe medical needs. Whole Person Care has also purchased permanent supportive housing with the help of a Sutter Health Foundation grant. The program has improved data and information sharing between service providers, including a digital platform called PreManage that sends real-time alerts to case managers when their clients go into the emergency room.

Stabilizing Lives

“Our goal is to connect the dots for homeless people who have been falling through the cracks,” said program manager Geoffrey Smith. “These are people who are cycling in and out of emergency rooms and jails. Helping them get stabilized is not only life-changing for the individual, but also benefits our overall system. We’re excited by initial successes and appreciate the recognition.”

Safe Drinking Water

The second Challenge Award went to the Environmental Health division for its drinking water forum, a unique event established last year to bring water regulators and operators from across the state together for four days of training and discussion around safe drinking water. The forum featured hands-on learning and a tour of the Squaw Valley water system. The first of its kind, the event is planned to continue on an annual basis to help meet ongoing challenges in the field.

“As drinking water regulations quickly evolve and become more complex, it is necessary for both regulators and industry professionals to continue their education in the field, and to develop a close working relationship,” said Wesley Nicks, Environmental Health director. “We are proud to have created this strong foundation for future learning and collaboration.”

Three other Health and Human Services programs also received Merit Awards:

  • The Human Services division was recognized for its “Get Hired” workshop series, a set of free classes available to job seekers that resulted from a collaboration with Placer School for Adults.
  • The Children’s System of Care also received an award for its unique implementation of safety organized practice, an approach to child welfare that seeks to strengthen supports around a child and family to keep more children in their homes.
  • Environmental Health received a second award for its partnership with local nonprofits and faith-based organizations to ensure kitchen safety for mass food preparation for homeless shelters and emergencies.

“The CSAC Challenge Awards honor the innovative and creative spirit of California counties,” said CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus. “As our counties continue to face new challenges, they are constantly developing solutions to best meet the needs of their residents. The programs receiving these awards exemplify the outstanding work being done throughout California’s 58 counties.”