November 23, 2021-Eddie Estrada, Vice President, Inland Empire Housing First Program, Step Up -In-Person & Virtual Meeting via ZOOM

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM



Present:  Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Ken Coate, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, Dan Murphy, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Karen Richmond, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Sol Teh, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Heldon, Reggie Webb, and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests:  Tom Brickley and Arnold San Miguel.

Announcements:  Due to audio difficulties Louis Goodwin, Past Chair will preside on behalf of Lowell King, Chair.  Goodwin introduced Eddie Estrada, Vice President, Inland Empire Housing First Program, Step Up who joined us via Zoom.

Step Up is a 501(c)(3) organization that delivers compassionate support to people experiencing serious mental health conditions and chronic homelessness to help them recover, stabilize, and integrate into the community.  Step Up uses the Housing First model which is a proven approach in which all individuals experiencing homelessness are believed to be “housing ready”.

Homelessness is a complex issue with many challenges and the homeless population face numerous barriers.  Such as:

  • Lack of Affordable Housing
    • Affordable Housing Ratio is 1:5
  • Physical Health
    • Approximately 82% of their members are dealing medical illnesses such as traumatic brain injury, hypertension, and diabetes
  • Mental Health
    • Approximately 98% of their members are dealing with mental health illnesses such as PTSD, schizophrenia, bi-polar, hoarding, etc.
  • Lack of readily available services
    • Nearest appointment date is approximately a 35 day wait
  • Lack of transportation
    • Roundtrip on public transportation is approximately 3 hours

Step Up began serving the Inland Empire in 2016 and since that time have had success in providing permanent supportive housing for 448 individuals, medical-both Intensive Case Management Services and health home programs servicing 300 people, mental health services for some 622 recipients, payee services and Supplemental Security Income for 320 people, and outreach engagement servicing 714.  Additional support includes linkage to self-help groups, family reunification, life skills workshops, and  employment assistance.

Their summarized accomplishments include:

  • Increased services by 500%
  • Engaged approximately 1,584 individuals
  • Linked to mainstream benefits = 92%
  • Linked to housing = 87%
  • Maintained Housing Stability for over 759 households
  • Permanent Housing Retention = 96%
  • Delivered tens of thousands of mental health therapy sessions
  • Named IEHP’s top performer under their Health Homes Chronic Disease Management
  • Provided approximately 438,00 bed nights.

Their next phase, Homekey 2.0, will add some 280 permanent supportive housing units.

  • Days Inn, Victorville = 80 units
  • Good Night Inn, Redlands = 100 units
  • Royal Palms, Indio = 100 units

Results and outcomes of the Step Up program are critical as they have both internal and contractual benchmarks that must be met.

Advocacy will be critical to provide for stable and continuing funding.  They would like to see increased foundation investment in IE programs and incentives for developers to increase affordable housing.  The federal funding from HUD called Federal Fair Housing Rents does not take into consideration housing prices in the IE and should be remedied.

For more information, please go to

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:27 a.m.