Santa Clara Launches CA's First Pay for Success (Huff Post)

By Deborah De Santis - President and CEO of CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing)

This past Friday, CSH joined with an impressive group of government officials and leaders in finance and the nonprofit sector to embrace "Project Welcome Home," a Pay for Success initiative in Santa Clara County, California, designed to improve housing stability and supportive services for chronically homeless individuals (those in homelessness for longer periods of time). The County, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is launching the project in partnership with Abode Services, a national leader in housing services for people struggling with homelessness.

We applaud Santa Clara County and Abode for joining together to pursue the benefits of Pay for Success (PFS) to enhance communities and the well-being of the people they serve.

PFS is an innovative funding model that funnels public and private resources toward social programs that prove effective. PFS tracks the programs over time and requires governments to pay for services only if they succeed in measurably improving the lives of people most in need. PFS also enables governments to tap private investments to cover the upfront costs. This ensures taxpayer dollars are being leveraged wisely and spent only on programs that actually work.

With the expertise of Adobe, Project Welcome Home will provide community-based clinical services and supportive housing to 150-200 chronically homeless individuals who are currently frequent users of emergency rooms, acute mental health facilities and jail. Chronically homeless individuals, with no access to stable housing and long-term supportive services, use a significant and disproportionate amount of government and services, often resulting in higher costs for the public sector and ineffective, short-term relief for those in need.

More than 6,500 people in Santa Clara County are homeless; 2,200 can be classified as chronically homeless. Under the agreement guiding Project Welcome Home, the County will repay funders only if Abode is able to help chronically homeless individuals achieve continuous periods of stable housing, which we know can lower costs for services and produce better outcomes all around.

CSH is a national leader in promoting social impact investment/ Pay for Success as a tool to create supportive housing (affordable housing + supports). We are working on similar efforts in Massachusetts, Denver, San Diego, Austin (TX) and Camden (NJ), and we are pleased to provide $500,000 in senior loan funding to Project Welcome Home.

Government, private funders, philanthropic organizations, and Abode's deferred service fees will provide a total of $6.9 million in funding for the six-year Project Welcome Home project. The partnership includes the organizations listed below.

Government: 
County of Santa Clara, California

Service Provider:
Abode Services

Funders:
The Sobrato Family Foundation, The California Endowment, The Health Trust, The
Reinvestment Fund (TRF), Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), The James Irvine Foundation, and Google.org

Early Community Supporters:
Step Up Silicon Valley, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Sobrato Family Foundation, The Health Trust, California Pay for Success Initiative (administered by Nonprofit Finance Fund and funded by The James Irvine Foundation)

Independent Evaluator: 
University of California, San Francisco

Evaluation Grantor:
Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Government Advisor & Transaction Coordinator:
Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc.

Technology Partner:
Palantir Technologies