Funder Spotlight: Laura & John Arnold Foundation

Leveraging data to produce better outcomes, particularly for those rejoining our communities after incarceration, is a priority of our partners at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Last year, due in part to the Foundation's generous support of our initiatives, CSH was able to launch a far-reaching effort that focuses on using criminal justice and homelessness data to ensure those leaving incarceration will successfully reintegrate.

In May 2017, CSH selected four counties – Salt Lake County (Utah), Boone County (Missouri), Clark County (Nevada) and McLean County (Illinois) – to receive our assistance to integrate data from their homelessness response and criminal justice agencies to better match eligible individuals with supportive housing, which could be financed through the use of the private-public-philanthropic funding found in Pay For Success partnerships and contracts.

Supportive housing provides affordable homes and access to critical services (healthcare, employment training) that help break the costly cycle of individuals leaving incarceration, struggling through homelessness and then returning to jail or prison. Several studies conclude the stability associated with supportive housing is key to successfully reintegrating the formerly incarcerated into communities and lowering crime rates.

Pay For Success uses up-front private funding to ensure the most positive outcomes for individuals and communities, reduce the financial risk to government, and maximize public resources.

Last week in Chicago, CSH hosted a convening for the four sites participating in this Laura and John Arnold Foundation-funded initiative, Scaling Data Integration and Pay for Success. Over the course of two days, teams engaged in intense planning sessions with CSH and our technology partner from the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy (DSaPP). All sites are working with us and  DSaPP to integrate jail and homeless data into a tool that will help identify frequent users of both systems in their jurisdictions.

This is important for delivering better services and effectively matching vulnerable people to supportive housing, and changing the trajectory of their lives away from crime, poverty and homelessness. This also sets the stage to further explore how we can create more supportive housing by leveraging Pay For Success financing, using the private and philanthropic dollars that come with it, and ensuring scarce resources are spent effectively and only for successful outcomes.

CSH is committed to spurring greater coordination and integration among homeless/housing and criminal justice agencies, and the support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation is helping to bring our work in this area to scale.

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