Two boards rather than one will guide efforts by the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless (RTFH) to end homelessness in San Diego County while enhancing the organization’s ability to bring critical funding to the region.
By separating its board of directors into a policy advisory board and a new, financially oriented board more akin to traditional nonprofit boards, the RTFH hopes to create a stronger governance infrastructure for the organization tasked with leading the region’s efforts to end homelessness.
One board, the Advisory Board, will continue to convene the region’s elected officials, service providers, and civic leaders for discussions about policy and best practices. The second board, the 501c3 Non-Profit Board, will focus on the fiscal oversight of the organization, acquiring funding and allocating it where it’s needed most.
“First and foremost, this was a decision-based in good governance,” said Tamera Kohler, CEO of RTFH. “The evolution of the RTFH into an agency responsible for tens of millions of dollars of funding to homelessness programs throughout the region created an opportunity for us to separate our policy experts and the decisions they make from those responsible for fiscal oversight. It also gives us the opportunity to more aggressively apply for government grants, fundraise and deploy funding in a more fiscally responsible way, with the intent always to help more people out of homelessness.”
The RTFH is the authority and lead coordinator in the San Diego region for new and best practices and policies to prevent, alleviate and ultimately end homelessness in San Diego.
The RTFH board of directors historically has had 31 members, has been chaired by an elected official and has included homeless service providers, elected officials, business and civic leaders and those with lived experience. That body, known as the Continuum of Care (CoC), remains intact and continues to advise on new and emerging initiatives and coordination of services throughout the region.
The RTFH also oversees the distribution of funding throughout the San Diego region from a diverse range of sources, including the state of California’s Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Grant Program (HHAP), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Notice of Funding Availability and a Flexible Housing Pool. This funding responsibility will now be that of the new nonprofit board of directors and RTFH staff.
In 2018, the RTFH was given the responsibility of allocating more than $18 million in funding from the state of California’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and nearly $8 million from the federal government’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP).
“When Tamera took over as CEO of the RTFH in 2017, she quickly identified that the organization was growing in its role and responsibility in the region and that at some point, the board of directors would need to evolve with it,” said nonprofit chair Ray Ellis. “This was a well-thought-out decision that will help not just our own organization, but will better serve cities, organizations and people working to end homelessness in San Diego.”
The CoC remains responsible for the policy, advocacy, and research; the annual countywide Point-in-Time Count; and management of the region’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
“The RTFH is an invaluable partner to service providers, government agencies, volunteers and people who are in need of housing,” said Rick Gentry, chair of the CoC and president of the San Diego Housing Commission. “They have the ability to work directly with the folks doing the work in the community because we are on their board. So they hear us, and then they look at things from the system level, see where things are and are not working to offer expertise and insight that makes our regional system stronger.”
For more information about the Regional Taskforce on the Homeless, visit www.RTFHSD.org.