FUSE Analysis Reveals that Supportive Housing Reduces Crises Response and Jail Bookings in Multnomah County

For Immediate Release, June 1, 2021

PORTLAND, OR | A groundbreaking analysis revealed that supportive housing reduced crisis responses, jail bookings, and public costs for individuals who frequently cycled through the justice and emergency health systems. The analysis was conducted through a joint effort with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), Health Share of Oregon, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council.

The FUSE (Frequent Users Systems Engagement) methodology represents the first time that the homeless and housing, health and justice sectors in Multnomah County came together to share data. The effort resulted in a comprehensive, cross-sector analysis that showed the impact supportive housing has on people who experience homelessness and have complex needs. CSH led the coordination necessary for this effort based on its national FUSE initiative that integrates data and systems engagement to determine if people who often cycle through jails, shelters, hospitals and other crisis services could benefit from supportive housing.

“The Multnomah County FUSE effort was one of the most dynamic systems work that CSH has seen. The findings are revealing and timely, just as some voices in Portland and municipalities across the country are advocating for more public investment in emergency shelters rather than supportive housing. The data could not be more crystal clear that supportive housing is a more effective, lasting and fiscally responsible solution to homelessness,” said Deborah De Santis, President and CEO at CSH.

“The FUSE analysis offers the strongest evidence so far that combining accessible housing with supportive services is a potent, cost-effective strategy for helping our neighbors break the cycle of homelessness to find lasting safety, stability and wellness. This is the approach that drives the ways in which Multnomah County serves people experiencing homelessness, transforming the lives of thousands of people who can now go to sleep in homes of their own with the assurance that they have the support they need to stay in it. And thanks to the Supportive Housing Services measure that voters passed last May, we look forward to scaling up these solutions to finally meet the level of need in our community.” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

James Schroeder, CEO at Health Share of Oregon said, “The FUSE initiative for supportive housing represents exactly the kind of cross system collaboration and innovative thinking needed to address a crisis of this scale and size. At Health Share of Oregon, we believe that health equity can be achieved by addressing social determinants of health and integration. Housing status is an incredibly powerful social determinant. Supportive housing not only creates better health outcomes, but now we can also clearly see how it directly reduces health care costs, jail bookings, emergency room visits, and more.”

Highlights of the study include:

  • With supportive housing as an intervention, there were more than:
    • 5,000 fewer avoidable emergency department visits,
    • 400 fewer jail bookings,
    • 50 fewer inpatient psychiatric stays.
  • If all chronically homeless individuals in the study (n = 1,138) either avoided or ended their experience of chronic homelessness with supportive housing, $10.2 million would be realized in Medicaid savings.
  • Racial disparities were observed across communities and across system indicators. The greatest disparities were for people identifying as:
    • American Indian/Alaska Native
    • Other/Multi-Racial
    • Black/African American

Nationally, CSH has been involved in FUSE in more than 35 communities. Each is distinctly based on the systems engaged in the effort, focus populations, and identified programmatic and policy needs.

The FUSE analysis in Multnomah County concluded that making equitable investments in long-term solutions, such as supportive housing, showed a significant decrease in systems uses. For more information about the FUSE analysis, please click here to access the attached summary and contact a media representative to request a copy of the full report.

About CSH and FUSE

The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) is the national champion for supportive housing, demonstrating its potential to improve the lives of very vulnerable individuals and families by helping communities create more than 335,000 real homes for people who desperately need them. CSH funding, expertise and advocacy have provided $1 billion in direct loans and grants for supportive housing across the country. Building on 30 years of success developing multiple and cross-sector partnerships, CSH engages broader systems to fully invest in solutions that drive equity, help people thrive, and harness data to generate concrete and sustainable results. By aligning affordable housing with services and other sectors, CSH helps communities move away from crisis, optimize their public resources, and ensure a better future for everyone.

About Health Share of Oregon

Health Share of Oregon is the state’s largest Medicaid coordinated care organization (CCO), serving OHP members in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. Our mission is to partner with communities to achieve ongoing transformation, health equity, and the best possible health for each individual. Health Share was founded and continues to be governed by eleven health care organizations serving OHP members: Adventist Health, CareOregon, Central City Concern, Clackamas County, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, Multnomah County, Oregon Health & Science University, Providence Health & Services, Tuality Health Alliance and Washington County. 

Media Contacts

Jeremy Graybill, Health Share of Oregon
Phone: 503-806-4642
Email: graybillj@healthshareoregon.org

Heather Lyons, CSH
Phone: 503-939-0083
Email: heather.lyons@csh.org

Paul Park, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury
Office: 503-988-6277
Email: paul.park@multco.us

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