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VISTA Spotlight: Continuum of Care

July 6, 2012

“I became a VISTA because I wanted to gain some hands on experience,” said Divya Narala, who moved to Las Vegas in January 2012 to serve at the Clark County Regional Initiatives Office (RIO). A recent and very proud graduate of University Nevada, Reno, Divya thought the VISTA program would be “an excellent opportunity to dive right into the workforce.” And she was right!

Her small six-person office is the primary convener of all homeless provider agencies in southern Nevada. The RIO deals mostly with the Continuum of Care process, meaning they collaborate closely with agencies to ensure a complete system of care is provided to homeless individuals. They conduct the Homeless Census Count every other year, and coordinate Project Homeless Connect, an annual event where over 100 agencies come together to serve over 3000 homeless individuals in just one day.

The RIO recently wrapped up Registry Week, their contribution to the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, which is striving to (as its name suggests) find 100,000 permanent homes for the most chronic and vulnerable homeless individuals and families. As a partner in this initiative, the RIO coordinated and trained over 150 community volunteers who canvassed the streets for two days to identify homeless individuals. 312 surveys were conducted, and 108 of those individuals were identified as chronic and vulnerable, meaning they may not last much longer on the streets. RIO-supported outreach teams will work closely with those individuals to provide strategic intervention and assistance.

“It’s rewarding to say that we truly are making a huge impact in the way the whole system of care is provided to our targeted population,” Divya said, and we couldn’t agree with her more!

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