The successes and impact of the CSH Social Innovation Fund (SIF) initiative were highlighted during the Connecticut Integrated Healthcare and Housing Networks (CIHHN) Awards Dinner and Celebration held at the end of March in Hartford. Honored guests at the Dinner were Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, Director Damian Thorman of the Corporation for National and Community Service Social Innovation Fund, Richard Cho of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, SIF participants, and the four providers receiving awards for their work on SIF: Journey Home, Columbus House, Supportive Housing Works and New London Homeless Hospitality Center.After being introduced by Master of Ceremonies and Executive Director of AIDS-CT John Merz, CSH Director of Strategic Initiatives Sarah Gallagher welcomed everyone and spoke about the progress of SIF in Connecticut and nationally. Calling housing “a crucial piece of the healthcare puzzle,” she summed up SIF by saying it “brings together the best of what we know works in ending homelessness—data driven targeting and a housing first approach to supportive housing—with some of the most innovative solutions for improving health outcomes— care coordination, patient navigation, and direct linkages to integrated primary and behavioral health care.”
Sarah cited impressive outcomes to spotlight SIF’s progress to date:
- SIF participants have a 92% retention rate in supportive housing.
- 90% are actively connected to a primary health care provider.
- 91% are actively connected to mental health care.
- 89% to specialty care.
- As a result, hospital emergency department use as the main source of care is decreasing for SIF participants and other service utilization patterns are trending in a positive direction.
- Overnight hospitalizations dropped from 8.5 before housing to 2.7 in the 12 months post supportive housing placements.
- Emergency department visits decreased from 13 pre-housing to just 5 in the 12 months post supportive housing.
In addition to positive individual outcomes, SIF’s cross-systems work has been cited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as helping to advance the direction of federal policy.
Sarah also introduced a new video featuring partners, providers, funders and participants in Connecticut’s SIF initiative.
Governor Malloy praised SIF in his address, noting that without housing and access to primary healthcare services, individuals are forced to cycle through various high-cost and crisis-care public systems, costing government significant amounts of money without any improvements in personal well-being. He reiterated his Administration’s commitment to ending homelessness and said SIF is contributing to his goals of helping the chronically homeless and those veterans in need of a home and support services.
Governor Malloy said there is now a vibrant safety net in place to quickly access housing and services for any vulnerable veteran lacking a place to live.
He also pointed out the infrastructure created through SIF will ensure that when Connecticut ends chronic homelessness, the state will already have in place new models replacing the costly and ineffective ways of addressing homelessness with newer ones that provide ongoing, coordinated, and multi-disciplinary care with the appropriate housing.
Recognizing the progress SIF has made bridging gaps between housing and healthcare, Governor Malloy acknowledged that stakeholders around other vulnerable populations need to be brought together to think about the role of housing in improving outcomes through cost-effective interventions.
Corporation for National and Community Service SIF Director Thorman spoke to the group about how their work is fostering greater collaboration and cooperation amongst public and private providers, breaking down the “silos” that usually exist when different agencies and levels of government focus exclusively on their own goals. He noted “SIF is reducing risks and increasing the impact of government resources by using data to drive progress…all while improving people’s lives.”
Director Thorman concluded by saying that “without SIF… programs wouldn’t be making the impact they are today.”
In addition to the remarks offered by Sarah, Governor Malloy and Director Thorman, two panel discussions, one comprised of just SIF participants and the other of general stakeholders, were incorporated into the evening. The stakeholder panel was moderated by CSH Director in New England, Larry Oaks, and included: Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities; Janice Elliott, Executive Director, Melville Charitable Trust; Steve DiLella, Director of Individual and Family Support Program Unit, Connecticut Department of Housing; and Nancy Navarretta, Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services.
The ceremony commending the four providers receiving awards was moderated by Susan Lampley of the Melville Charitable Trust. Read the introductions of the four award winners by clicking here.