Four organizations intent on simultaneously addressing the most complex instances of homelessness while improving medical and mental well-being are meeting this week in Washington, DC to advance their plans to sustain an effective model that blends housing with health services. Providers from Los Angeles (CA), San Francisco (CA), Ann Arbor (MI) and Connecticut are convening in the nation’s capital with their colleagues and other professionals as part of the CSH Social Innovation Fund (SIF) national initiative.
CSH has been leading this five-year effort demonstrating how supportive housing pulls people with the most complex issues out of the revolving door of costly crisis services. Backed by a prestigious federal Social Innovation Fund award from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the CSH SIF initiative is leveraging the CSH Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) model of housing linked to health services to improve the lives of very vulnerable men and women.
“States and communities spend billions of dollars each year on programs that simply bounce vulnerable people around between shelters, hospitals, detox centers, and then back on the streets again, never really addressing their needs or improving their situations,” said Sarah Gallagher, CSH Director of Strategic Initiatives. “These individuals and families are forced to be super-utilizers or what is known as frequent users of costly crisis services, and they are overtaxing emergency rooms, shelters, jails and other programs. CSH SIF is all about using the FUSE model to change this paradigm so that people are off the streets for good, in real housing, with ongoing and preventative healthcare to keep them healthy.”
CSH estimates super-utilizers are about 5% of those homeless for longer periods of time and that they absorb approximately 50% of the cost of services because homelessness exacerbates health issues, limits access to effective care, and inhibits healthy behaviors.
To date, the CSH SIF initiative has found housing for over 500 people nationally, with over 90% remaining housed and over 85% retaining primary healthcare that reduces their regular visits to hospital emergency departments and other crisis care.
CSH works with four teams across the country that are using supportive housing integrated with care management, and primary and behavioral health, to improve outcomes among individuals with complex needs. The teams are:
1. Avalon Housing - Ann Arbor, MI
2. AIDS Connecticut - Connecticut (statewide)
3. Los Angeles County Partnership - Los Angeles County, CA
4. Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation - San Francisco, CA