New Grant Helps Position CAFTH to House More Families Facing Homelessness & Separation

Memphis – CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing) has selected the Community Alliance for the Homeless (CAFTH) to receive a grant that will determine if Pay For Success (PFS) financing can help create supportive housing for families without homes who also experience high instances of open child welfare cases.

CSH anticipates CAFTH will receive approximately six months of technical guidance to determine if PFS is a realistic supportive housing funding option for CAFTH to pursue. PFS initiatives are often public-private arrangements that enable a government to test or expand programs while paying only for those that achieve agreed-upon outcomes. Such payments are known as success payments. Since it may take several years to verify the outcomes that trigger such payments, service providers like CAFTH often require upfront private financing from third-party funders (often philanthropists or community-based lenders).

“As a leader in the fight to end homelessness in Memphis/Shelby County, Community Alliance for the Homeless believes that our community is equipped with resources to impact positive change,” said Cheré Bradshaw, Executive Director of CAFTH. “The technical assistance provided by CSH will significantly broaden our organizational capacity to promote the well-being of child welfare-involved families experiencing homelessness through the Pay-for-Success initiative. The technical assistance from CSH will significantly enhance our ability to end family homelessness in our community.”

In dozens of studies, supportive housing has repeatedly proven to be an effective intervention that improves housing stability, reduces the use of expensive crisis care (e.g., ERs, detox, hospitalization, nursing homes, child welfare), and improves outcomes even for the most vulnerable individuals and families with complex needs. This makes supportive housing an ideal candidate for achieving the successful results identified within many PFS financing contracts.

“The cost savings resulting from supportive housing are particularly significant among families with high interactions with child welfare,” said Deborah De Santis, President and CEO of CSH. “This group of families demonstrates the most potential for progress through reduced length of stay in foster care and reduced costs for out of home placements, as well as improved health and safety outcomes overall for the children and parents served.”

The federal government estimates there are more than 50,000 families experiencing homelessness in the United States. Some of these families have repeated episodes of homelessness due to underlying addiction, mental illness, extreme poverty, and histories of trauma. These families also tend to have repeated contact with the child welfare system, sometimes resulting in foster care placement for young children and family dissolution. The PFS model offers a potential tool to support the creation of supportive housing for families, helping them gain housing stability, increase family functioning, and improve child and adult well-being across a range of outcome areas and measures.

CSH selected CAFTH due, in part, to the impressive partnerships it formed to explore Pay For Success. Local partners with CAFTH include: United Healthcare Tennessee Community Plan’s VP of Innovation and Strategy, the City of Memphis Division of Housing & Community Development, Promise Development Corporation’s Executive Director, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services’ Regional Director, Alliance Healthcare Services’ VP of Clinical Services, and a University of Tennessee evaluation team.

“CAFTH and its other partners have a strong service model and are already involved in a multi-site evaluation of families-focused supportive housing, and intend to build on their success through this work,” said Stephanie Mercier, CSH Director of Impact Investment. “Their interest extends beyond cost savings and emphasizes many outcomes that can be a benefit to project momentum, including housing stability, reduced trauma for children, and better early childhood education.”

The CSH grant to CAFTH is made possible through an award received from the Corporation for National and Community Service combined with additional financial support from CSH’s philanthropic foundation partners.

The Center for Healthcare Strategies will assist CSH in providing guidance to CAFTH during the term of this grant award.

Media Contacts
CSH: Robert Friant; 212-986-2966, x245; robert.friant@csh.org
CAFTH: Cheré Bradshaw, (901) 246-9892; chere@cafth.org

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