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Housing First

The ‘Housing First’ Model

Ritter Center is proud to be a leader in the evidence-based practice of Housing First, an approach to serving people experiencing homelessness that recognizes a homeless person must first be able to access a safe place to live without a limit to the length of stay before stabilizing and improving health, reducing harmful behaviors, and increasing income. 

Housing First recognizes that people must access basic necessities such as a safe place to live and food to eat before being able to achieve quality of life or pursue personal goals. Housing First does not mean housing only. Housing First is a clinical program with a housing component that recognizes that care coordination of medical care, behavioral care, and other supportive services is essential for housing stability and improved quality of life. 

We know that housing is medicine for our patients. We don’t give up because a home is a sanctuary and we all deserve a place to feel safe.

Whole Person Care

At Ritter, we are deliberate in our work to be present and create space for each person who comes to us. The vast majority come from chronic persistent trauma and loss of relationships, and therefore the threshold for trusting someone is quite different. They expect that someone is going to hurt, reject or mistreat them. They have been let down so many times that it has become a built-in narrative.

We know that overall health is not restricted solely to physical health, but also includes well-being and wellness.  The “whole person” approach includes emotional, spiritual, occupational, and financial aspects of life to create a holistic view of health.

In June 2017, Marin County Department of Health & Human Services (Marin HHS) received approval from the state to begin implementation of the Whole Person Care  Pilot (WPC) with a vision to build a sustainable, evidence-based, outcomes-focused coordinated system of care across health and social sectors to more efficiently and effectively serve Marin County’s most vulnerable Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

In 2018, Marin HHS awarded Ritter Center the Whole Person Care housing-based case management grant. Our team of highly-trained assertive Case Managers implement a high-fidelity Housing First program for 120 individuals who have long histories of homelessness and serious physical and behavioral disabilities. In partnership with Marin HHS and other partner non-profits we coordinate care and share data across housing, medical, mental health, and social services.

Ritter Center’s Whole Person Care program nurtures the whole person and can help to restore dignity to an individual’s life. 

“People don’t become homeless when they run out money. People become homeless when they run out of relationships.”

Hamilton Meadows

At Hamilton Meadows in Novato, Ritter Center is able to provide permanent supportive housing for up to 12 formerly homeless individuals. Ritter Center staff works collaboratively with other Marin County agencies to provide necessary services, including: healthcare, medication management, behavioral health counseling, and substance use treatment. Hamilton Meadows sits amid rolling hills and a canopy of mature trees. The immediate neighborhood includes a town center, parks, schools, cultural facilities and acres of open space.

Helping with Benefits Enrollment

We assist our clients in obtaining federal, state and county benefits assistance.

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