To combat homelessness, Austin nonprofit looks to outside investors (Austin American-Statesman)

Highlights

A permanent supportive housing project for Travis County’s homeless has almost reached its $17 million goal.

The project uses an innovative funding model that offloads risk onto investors, rather than local governments.

Once the money is raised, the nonprofit leading the project will write a contract and seek investor funds.

Read More

Central Health Votes to Invest in Homeless Housing (KLBJ Newsroom)

The Central Health Board of Managers voted this week to commit $400,000 to participate in a new program expected to reduce the hospital utilization of up to 250 persons experiencing homelessness who are frequent users of the most expensive types of care. 
 
The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition’s (ECHO) Pay-for-Success project will provide housing units and support services through the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model, an evidence-based practice for people with severe mental illness who are most at risk of homelessness and poor health outcomes. The project will identify uninsured and underinsured persons, including Central Health Medical Access Program (MAP) enrollees, who interact frequently with the health care and criminal justice systems and move them into this permanent supportive housing program.
 

Read More

Denver PFS project demonstrates promising housing stability outcomes (Urban Institute)

This blog originally appeared on America Forward under the title "Practice to Policy: Denver Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond Shows Promising Housing Stability Outcomes In First Year" on April 3, 2018. It is part of their Practice to Policy blog series, which lifts up the voices of the more than 70 organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition and their broader social innovation network by highlighting outcomes-based solutions to the country’s most pressing social problems and why these solutions must be reflected in our federal policies. 

Read More

Practice to Policy: Denver Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond Shows Promising Housing Stability Outcomes In First Year (America Forward)

In early 2016, the city of Denver launched its first Pay for Success (PFS) project, the Denver Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond, to provide 250 of its most vulnerable residents with permanent supportive housing. Through the PFS model, the city committed to repaying the group of private investors, who initially funded wraparound services based on the project’s success in maintaining residents’ housing stability and decreasing jail-bed days. The first housing stability payment was made in October 2017. The project housed individuals for 95 percent of total possible days in housing.

Read More

Seeking to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, Central Health approves setting aside $400,000 for homelessness support program (Community Impact Newspaper)

The Central Health Board of Managers voted March 28 to approve setting aside $400,000 to support a program called the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, or ECHO.

The goal of the program is to provide a support system by housing homeless people and connecting them to resources as well as to avoid homeless residents making unnecessary emergency room visits, which burdens Austin’s law enforcement and emergency services, ECHO’s Executive Director Ann Hall said at a Central Health budget and finance meeting on March 22.

ECHO is a “pay-for-success” program, meaning private investors would cover all the costs associated with establishing the housing program and governmental entities such as Central Health would agree to repay the investors only if the program is successful. For this program, Central Health would agree to set aside $400,000 and only pay it to investors once ECHO could prove it had reduced emergency rooms visits in Travis County.

Read More

Central Health delays increase in property tax exemptions for some Travis County residents (Community Impact Newspapers)

3. A vote to support a homelessness housing program was delayed

The committee voted to approve a recommendation to the Central Health board of managers at its next meeting to set aside $400,000 to support a program called the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, or ECHO.

The goal of the program is to provide a support system by housing homeless people and connecting them to resources as well as to avoid homeless residents making unnecessary emergency room visits, which burdens Austin’s law enforcement and emergency services, ECHO’s Executive Director Ann Hall said.

ECHO is a “pay-for-success” program, meaning private investors would cover all the costs associated with establishing the housing program and governmental entities such as Central Health would agree to repay the investors only if the program is successful. For this program, Central Health would agree to set aside $400,000 and only pay it to investors once ECHO could prove it had reduced emergency rooms visits in Travis County. The exact metrics used to measure the success of the program are not determined yet and would be negotiated between Central Health and ECHO.

Committee member Maram Museitif said that although she sympathizes with Austin’s homeless population, she felt concerned that the project’s efforts stray too far from Central Health’s core mission of providing health care. She said she is concerned it would tie up funds in the future that could be directed toward projects tied to health outcomes.

Read More

Denver sold bonds to reduce the human and financial costs of homelessness. The results so far are promising. (The Denver Post)

They found Robert Bischoff by sharing his photo with a Sinclair gas station clerk who often sold him cigarettes.

They met Alexander Jacob after sending his mom a letter, even though he almost didn’t respond because he figured it was “trash mail.”

The two men and more than 250 more people — all homeless and high-frequency users of jail, detox and emergency departments at taxpayer expense — have been tracked down by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and Mental Health Center of Denver outreach workers and given apartments through Denver’s social-impact bond program. About two years into the five-year program, researchers have noted a dramatic drop in jail days.

It’s part of the “housing first” model, meaning the first step is providing housing in the hopes that substance-abuse and mental-health treatment will follow.

Read More

McLean County moving ahead with affordable housing initiative (The Pantagraph)

BLOOMINGTON — Housing opportunities for mentally ill people will improve under a $3 million initiative unveiled Friday by the McLean County Behavioral Health Coordinating Council to boost the number of housing units and provide more services.

The four-year pilot program will start with about 10 "super utilizers" — people who may be homeless and frequent emergency rooms and the county jail. By the third year, the program will grow to about 30 people, county Administrator Bill Wasson told the committee made up of local service providers, elected officials and community leaders.

The housing proposal is part of the County Board's efforts to address unmet mental needs outlined in its 2015 Mental Health Action Plan. 

Read More

Read the text of Mayor Steve Adler’s State of the City address (Statesman)

I thank the Mayor Pro Tem for all the work she has done over many years to address this challenge. We are all excited about the new innovations you have championed like the inter-disciplinary HOST teams that this Council acted to expand this year, as well as the Pay For Success model around which this Council has begun to rally support.

This city had a successful federal pilot program in helping homeless youth. And we’ve got an in-house innovation team working on a $1.5-million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop smarter ways to help our most vulnerable neighbors. Alan Graham and our community are launching the expansion of the very successful Community First model.

Read More

Practice to Policy: Support for Home Visiting is a Bipartisan Victory for Families (America Forward)

Every day social innovators and social innovation organizations across the country are measurably impacting communities and individuals. This Practice to Policy blog series lifts up the voices of the more than 70 organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition and our broader social innovation network by highlighting the outcomes-based solutions to our country’s most pressing social problems and why these solutions must be reflected in our federal policies. Today we will hear from the Council for Strong America about the significance of the long-term reauthorization of the evidence-based Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) evidence-based pregnant women and their children.

Read More