One of the more exciting developments to our Coordinated Access Network this year has been the hiring of three navigators. These navigators assist clients in obtaining the documents they need to be ready for housing and they also accompany them through the housing process. This is a very important and necessary addition to our work and it allows us to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.

For a variety of reasons, it is often challenging to locate those who are experiencing homelessness. This is one of the reasons that the Coordinated Access Network (CAN) has been so instrumental in our work of ending chronic homelessness. The CAN has allowed us to share vital information and has created a pathway to housing. In the past, it may have taken us a lot of time and energy to locate someone like Ricardo Sanchez. But, because of the work of agencies working together and our CAN Navigators, we were able to locate Ricardo very quickly and get him on the path to housing.

Ricardo has been homeless for over 10 years and has been living under I-91 for most of that time. Shortly after one of our navigators began working with us, she was assigned to Ricardo. After a few attempts, she couldn’t locate Ricardo and it was at that point she put the word out. He finally appeared at an area shelter and was quickly put in touch with the navigator.

Since that time, he has been able to acquire all of his identifying documents, was referred for a mental health assessment, and is now ready for housing. After 10 years of living outside, it has taken a very short time to get Ricardo on the road to stabilizing his life.

None of this would have been possible for Ricardo without the work of the CAN. Communication, sharing information, and working together has made all the difference in our fight to end homelessness.