CoLEAD was developed from the LEAD framework in Spring 2020, during the COVID emergency.
Congregate shelters closed, public spaces, food banks and community centers locked their doors, and many people were left without access to even basic hygiene facilities, let alone a secure and legal way to take care of basic needs. Drug use skyrocketed, and people were living in deplorable conditions right on the doorstep of small businesses that needed to try to re-open.
“…when the criminal legal system all but shut down overnight, the ‘streets became the new jail,’ as one of our colleagues observed.”
CoLEAD offers temporary lodging and intensive case management to address the root cause of a majority of illegal activity amongst its audience: unmet behavioral health needs and/or income instability.
LEAD partners saw the need to increase the resources we had to offer beyond street-based case management, and successfully recruited local hotels to participate in offering low-barrier non-congregate lodging, funded initially with COVID relief dollars. PDA created an intensive case management team to staff these facilities and provide aftercare planning, and We Deliver Care was founded to offer safety and de-escalation services on site.
The experience was so positive that this intensive care model in temporary lodging has now been preserved and integrated into the local LEAD service portfolio. CoLEAD has also been built into the King County Regional Homelessness Authority’s state-funded response to individuals living unsheltered on state transportation rights of way.