Political officials, representatives from community agencies and residents gathered Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the completion of the River Bluff Cottages, Rio Dell’s newest housing development.
Thanks to a joint effort between Danco Communities, Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) and the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) on this project, more people are now in housing.
River Bluff includes 26 free-standing units with an on-site manager and a community room with a kitchen and computer room. Case management and other supportive services are also available to residents. The project was years in the making, and DHHS case managers helped residents move in earlier this month.
DHHS Director Connie Beck said department staff has appreciated working with Danco, Partnership and the City of Rio Dell to secure housing for people experiencing homelessness in Humboldt County.
“The first step toward health is housing, and DHHS will continue to do our part to work with tenants to maintain safe and secure housing,” Beck said.
Chloe Schafer, PHC’s Northwest regional manager, agrees. “Being healthy doesn’t start when a member is in the exam room or at the emergency room, it starts with everyday life and the factors that affect an individual’s choices,” she said. “Without a roof over your head and a safe place to sleep, it’s difficult to make your health a priority.”
This is not the first time DHHS has partnered with Danco on low-income housing. In 2017, The Lodge at Eureka opened with 50 units for area seniors.
DHHS is also working with Danco and other community partners on a 50-unit multilevel building in Eureka for veterans and Mental Health clients with serious mental illness who are homeless or near homelessness and an 80-unit, low-income housing development in Samoa for families.
Danco President Chris Dart said affordable housing is necessary. “We know that access to housing is a major economic development in our communities and we are happy to be part of that growth,” he said.
Beck and Schafer agree that following the housing first model, which prioritizes rapid placement and stabilization in permanent housing and does not have service participation requirements or preconditions, benefits not only individual residents but the whole community.
“By supporting projects that address homelessness and housing security, we are taking important steps to help our communities be healthy,” Schafer said.
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