02/05/2020

Bringing Sectors Together to Address Housing Needs for Aging Adults

Philadelphia Regional Cross-Sector Knowledge Exchange

As demonstrated in the new study, The Emerging Crisis of Aged Homelessness, housing insecurity and homelessness among older adults in Pennsylvania are reaching acute levels and will only continue to grow over the next decade. Older adults are among the fastest growing number of people experiencing homelessness and estimates show this trend will increase drastically in the next decade. Providing stable housing and the appropriate support services to this population is an issue many cities, counties and states are grappling with.

In Philadelphia, CSH recently convened more than 50 partners (researchers, policymakers, housing providers and developers, healthcare professionals, and advocacy organizations) from across the city and its neighboring counties to facilitate a cross-sector conversation on the housing needs of this aging population.

Local partners in Philadelphia have identified the following priorities: enhancing cross-sector communication; building an awareness of the need for affordable, supportive and appropriate housing; and enhancing access to and coordination of services older adults need to remain stably housed in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Participants discussed causal factors and actionable next steps in terms of policy, direct services, advocacy, and more. Panels and interactive table discussions centered around themes such as behavioral health needs, racial and health disparities affecting seniors experiencing or at risk of homelessness, national vs local trends, resources and existing innovative programs serving this population, and, perhaps most importantly, a working lunch that brainstormed key recommendations on steps forward.

                Key recommendations from the event were as follows:

  1. Gaps Analysis: map out current systems and services. Where can we collaborate, enhance services, and build new services?
    1. Survey Stakeholders, including people with lived experience to identify gaps and best practices
    2. Synthesize findings and recommendations in a report shared with policy makers and stakeholders
  2. Establish a workgroup to foster inter-agency and cross-sector collaboration
    1. Provide education and training (health sector, policy makers)
    2. Advocate for additional resources
  3. Improve data-sharing and analysis
    1. Build consent into workflow
    2. Cross-sector data analysis (FUSE-like project)

After a successful event, participant feedback overwhelmingly named having had the opportunity to network across sectors as the biggest benefit. CSH looks forward to facilitating similar opportunities in the future and seeing the solutions and innovations that can result from simply bringing people from different sectors together.  If you are interested in becoming involved in the efforts in the Philadelphia area, please contact Brian McShane Brian.McShane@CSH.org 617-913-2638.

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