Ann Arbor, Michigan – February 5, 2018- Spurred by investments from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) has been leading a five-year national demonstration to create and evaluate supportive housing as a solution to addressing the needs of our health care system’s highest-need, highest-cost patients who are experiencing homelessness. Ann Arbor-based non-profit Avalon Housing was one of the four grantees who led this demonstration known locally as FUSE (Frequent Users Systems Engagement). During the five-year project, Avalon worked closely with numerous service providers, including the University of Michigan Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Health System, Packard Health, Community Mental Health, the Shelter Association and the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, among others.
This demonstration was one of the first initiatives to investigate whether supportive housing has a significant impact on health care utilization and costs among homeless adults who are high utilizers of the health care system. The project was independently evaluated by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from New York University, led by Principal Investigator Beth C. Weitzman, PhD. This evaluation is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluation of a national supportive housing demonstration of this scale. The evaluation included several key components to assess both program implementation and impacts across sites, including a series of visits to all program sites, a pre/post participant survey and cost effectiveness- and impact analyses.
Using data matching across multiple systems, FUSE targeted 150 individuals who met threshold criteria for frequent utilization of crisis systems, including homelessness or housing instability, low income, behavioral health conditions, chronic physical health conditions and frequent emergency room utilization and/or hospitalizations. Through housing navigation, intensive case management and care coordination for primary and behavioral health services, the FUSE project aimed to demonstrate an increase in housing stability for homeless individuals. The project also sought to demonstrate a reduction in the use of emergency systems, improved health outcomes for medically vulnerable individuals and cost savings across multiple systems.
The New York University RCT evaluation concludes that supportive housing can reduce utilization of shelters and costly health care in some populations and can be an important care coordination approach for people with complex health conditions who also experience homelessness. These reductions can substantially offset program costs. This is the first randomized control evaluation of a national supportive housing demonstration of this scale.
Says Aubrey Patiño, Executive Director of Avalon, “FUSE has made an incredible impact on our community at large, paving the way for housing and healthcare partnerships across the state. At Avalon, we know that housing is fundamental to people’s health and wellbeing. We see that every day. FUSE allowed us to build the evidence base for this intervention while leveraging systems change that permanently shifted our community’s approach to effectively serving this population. The end result is that people cycling out of homelessness and crisis systems are stably housed, have access to the health care they need and are living with dignity. We are also more effectively using our community’s resources, and supportive housing now serves as a platform for recovery.”
On Friday February 16, 2018 from 1:00-3:00 pm at the St. Joseph Mercy Education Center, 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, the CSH and NYU evaluation team members, including Senior Program Manager Lauren Fulton from CSH, Beth C. Weitzman, Ph.D., Professor of Health and Public Policy, NYU Steinhardt, and Carolyn Berry, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, will discuss key evaluation findings from Avalon’s FUSE initiative, in addition to evaluation findings across the other three SIF sites, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the State of Connecticut.
Avalon Housing, Inc. is a non-profit organization created in 1992 as a long-term solution to homelessness. Avalon develops, owns and manages supportive housing for over 750 of Washtenaw County’s lowest-income residents, including 200 children. We serve people who have been chronically homeless and who have behavioral and physical health challenges, including mental illness and substance use disorders. To learn more, visit avalonhousing.org.
Contact: Marcia Luke-van Dijk
CSH has been the national leader in supportive housing for over 25 years. We have worked in 48 states to help create stable, permanent homes for individuals and families. This housing has transformed the lives of over 200,000 people who once lived in abject poverty, on our streets or in institutions. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CSH has earned a reputation as a highly effective, financially stable organization with strong partnerships across government, community organizations, foundations, and financial institutions. Our loans and grants totaling over $700 MM have been instrumental in developing supportive housing in every corner of the country. Through our resources and knowledge, CSH is advancing innovative solutions like CSH-SIF and FUSE that use housing as a platform for services to improve lives, maximize public resources, build healthy communities and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Visit us at csh.org to learn more.
Contact: Robert Friant