In March the Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center convened evaluators, service providers, city staff, and housing providers for a peer visit focused on housing first for families. The attendees represented organizations and public entities that are testing the effectiveness of supportive housing for high need homeless families involved in the child welfare system, through a five-year grant project funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) . During this peer visit, attendees met with experienced family supportive housing providers working in Chicago to examine housing first for families and explore ways to implement harm reduction strategies with high need families.
The one-day peer visit was focused on housing first for families and gave grantees the opportunity to meet with fellow experienced supportive housing providers that service high need, homeless families. Highlights from the day include a meeting with the IL Department of Children and Family Services, a presentation by Beacon Therapeutic & Diagnostic Center, a supportive housing services provider followed by lunch and discussion on identifying high need families and coordinated intake with Inspiration.
Participants also had the opportunity to visit with providers from Chicago House, Heartland Human Care Services and La Casa Norte where they discussed utilizing Housing First at program intake, keeping families housed and preventing eviction. Several grantees stayed in Chicago to attend the Housing First Conference where one of their colleagues delivered a presentation on their project, the Memphis Strong Families Initiative (MSFI).
CSH and the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) developed the Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center last year with generous funding from the Robert Wood Johnson, Edna McConnell Clark and Annie E. Casey Foundations as well as Casey Family Programs.