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RI Frequent Users

In Rhode Island, there are a subset of individuals who have been cycling through the Department of Corrections and the shelter system who are “churning” through the system – meaning they have been cycling from the shelter to the street to another shelter and are falling through the cracks of the system. Many of these individuals have been involved in the criminal justice system and have not been able to access housing.

The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless (RICH), a nonprofit advocacy and organizing coalition for homeless service providers, supportive housing providers and constituents, is administering the Frequent Users grant to develop a housing centered model that focuses on the needs of individuals cycling through the Department of Corrections and the homeless system. The pilot focuses on the systems change needed to replicate this program across the state through working with Housing Authorities, community mental health centers and homeless services providers. RICH is the lead agency responsible for providing HMIS data and creating a process for sharing information with the Department of Corrections. RICH contracts with Eric Hirsch, a Sociology Professor at Providence College, to provide an evaluation and Diana Dumin, Director of Housing at the Kent Center, to work with the FUSE service team, the Providence Center, residents and landlords to develop the housing centered curriculum. The RI Coalition for the Homeless is located in Pawtucket, RI; however the project is statewide.

Next Steps

  • The Advisory Committee includes the Department of Corrections Discharge Planning Supervisor, the HMIS Administrator, the FUSE Evaluator, and members of the Governor’s Re-entry Council’s Housing Subcommittee to determine FUSE eligibility.
  • Rhode Island Housing provides a maximum of 30 rental subsidies through the Road Home, Shelter + Care, and Section 8.
  • The RICH’s HMIS staff works with the DOC to develop a data matching system that identifies individuals cycling through the shelter system and the prison system to identify potential candidates who meet the definition that is set by the FUSE Advisory Committee.
  • The Kent Center’s Housing Department is replicating its best practices by developing a housing centered case management team and a strength based approach to residency by working with the service team, the potential residents and the property managers.
  • A Housing Specialist was contracted to document program and procedure manuals for the community mental health centers, provided a 12 month mentorship program for the case management teams and housing providers.
  • An evaluator is evaluating the program for cost effectiveness, housing retention and qualitative outcomes. The evaluator works closely with the HMIS staff, case management team and housing specialist.

PROGRESS TO DATE

  • As of July 1, 2012, the program has housed 30 individuals.  The evaluation process has begun and we will have the outcomes documented in a report due in late summer/early fall 2013.
  • Rhode Island has implemented a Universal Waiting List for Supportive Housing to target Frequent Users of high cost systems as a result of our systems change work for this program.  The Housing Specialist is in the final stages of completing the procedures manual for community providers to replicate the housing model.
  • The Ready, Set, Rent classes have been in place and residents of the FUSE program as well as long term shelter residents have completed the program.
  • Because many FUSE tenants lack positive experience in the rental market living independently, the program focuses on the following topics: Housing Needs & Amenities, What is in a Lease, Money Management & Savings, BCIs, Credit, Move in Inspections and Getting Security Deposits Back, HQS inspections, Affordable Housing, Fair Housing, Fixing problems, Using housing programs to create a new track record, Building references, Finding housing, Safety issues, Dealing with LandlordsTypes of Evictions and How to Avoid Them.

 

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