In 2019, CSH led a project team in Portland, Oregon with ECONorthwest, Providence’s Center for Outcomes, Research and Education, and Ed Blackburn to put together a strategic framework for health systems, foundations, and others to invest based on a collective impact approach in a Regional Supportive Housing Impact Fund (RSHIF). The collaborative partners were Cambia Health Foundation, CareOregon, Central City Concern, the Collins Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Adventist Health, and Providence Health and Services. All of these organizations contributed financially to CSH and the project team, including in-kind support from Central City Concern, towards the creation of the “Regional Supportive Housing Impact Fund Strategic Framework” (the “Framework”).
RSHIF is intended to be a flexible funding pool to leverage and enhance existing community funding efforts in the housing space by providing resources tailored to fill critical gaps in current supportive housing models. Health Share of Oregon, the regional Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization in the Portland tri-county area will be the implementing organization for RSHIF, giving these critical funds for supportive housing a health lens.
The Framework details opportunities for collective investment in RSHIF in order to meet the needs of those who experience homelessness, have complex health challenges including serious mental health and addiction issues, and are exiting institutional and acute care settings that incur extremely high costs to health systems.
Additionally, the process included focused discussion on the racial equity gap in access to housing and services. To that end, the parameters guiding the Framework include “addressing racial equity and disparities during all phases of the process, including the strategic planning, fund development, implementation and evaluation phases,” and “working to foster equitable outcomes across race, ethnicity and other aspects of personal identity.”
CSH is evaluating how the Framework can add value to our ongoing work locally and in communities across the country. We have shared the Framework internally with CSH staff in other geographies where we have a presence, and there is strong interest in replicating the highly collaborative and successful effort that took place in the Portland tri-county area, providing other communities with assistance securing health system investments in a flexible pool.