HEART Alliance for Sustainable Families Preliminary Evaluation Findings

This report provides interested stakeholders with a preliminary overview of the outcome
and process evaluations for the HEART (Housing, Empowerment, Achievement,
Recovery and Triumph) Alliance for Sustainable Families. HEART is one of five
national demonstration sites funded by the Children’s Bureau of the Administration of
Children and Families with the United States Department of Health and Human
Services. HEART is a five year demonstration project from October 1, 2012 through
September 30, 2017. This report covers two years of HEART research study data.

HEART is a collaborative community-based supportive housing initiative designed to
assist 50 high risk and high need families in Broward County, Florida achieve family
strengthening as well as housing and economic stability. HEART represents an alliance
of 15 child welfare, housing, legal, health, and social service organizations collectively
working to improve child protection as well as family permanency and well-being.
HEART provides clinical case management, subsidized housing, economic selfsufficiency,
life coaching, legal counsel, health/behavioral health support, and domestic
violence prevention. HEART employs evidence-based interventions such as
Strengthening Families, Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the Center
for Working Families.

Using a Housing First model, HEART seeks to stabilize families involved with the child
welfare system who are at risk of/or experiencing homelessness. To gauge this impact,
Kids In Distress, Inc. (KID) subcontracted with Barry University researchers to conduct
the five-year evaluation of HEART.

Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing Guidebook

In creating and sharing the CSH Dimensions of Quality Supportive Housing, CSH strives to:

  • Build the capacity of the supportive and affordable housing industries to create and operate highquality,
    effective, and sustainable supportive housing units
  • Encourage the investment of adequate resources, especially from public systems, to support that
  • Ensure that existing resources for supportive housing are being used efficiently and effectively,
    and support the allocation of new resources
  • Create better outcomes for supportive housing tenants, especially those with multiple barriers to
    housing stability

Grant Opportunity Announced by HHS, ACYF Children’s Bureau

Regional Partnership Grants to Increase the Well-Being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, Children Affected by Substance Abuse

Application Due Date: August 13, 2018 by 11:59 PM ET

The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) was signed into law on February 9, 2018. This legislation creates historic reforms that are a positive step forward to help children remain safely with their families and support youth on a successful transition to adulthood by restructuring the main federal funding stream for child welfare to expand and enhance prevention efforts. The Family First Prevention Services Act amends Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act which governs federally funded child welfare activities across the country. Family First reauthorizes and updates the Regional Partnership Grants (RPG), targeted grants to increase the well-being of, and improve the permanency outcomes for, children affected by methamphetamine or other substance abuse. The updates to the grants better align with the new Title IV-E prevention services focus, including specifying mandatory partners, such as the public child welfare agency, appropriate courts and the state agency administering the substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant, as well as optional public and community based partners.

RPG grantees are to use specific, well-defined, and evidence-based programs that are also trauma-informed and targeted to the identified population. Earlier RPG grantees learned that it is important to include additional service sectors beyond the child welfare, court, and treatment providers. While housing and homeless response providers would not be the primary applicant, the need for housing solutions has been identified as a critical foundational need in prior rounds of RPG. Therefore, as communities consider applications for the 2018 grants, there is an exciting opportunity for housing providers and homeless response system partners to be included as a part of the teams receiving re-authorized and updated Regional Partnership grants under Title IV-B. Including housing providers and homeless system response partners in the Regional Partnership Grant program aligns with the program goal of helping states, tribes, and communities across the nation develop regional partnerships to provide, through interagency collaboration and integration, programs and services that increase permanency, safety and well-being outcomes of children who are in an out-of-home placement or are at risk of out-of-home placement as a result of a parental substance use.  The One Roof Roadmap highlights the need for collaborative structures and service models when implementing child welfare and supportive housing partnerships. These successful partnerships in jurisdictions implementing supportive housing aligned with CSH’s Keeping Families Together approach, have laid the ground work for integration in these regional partnerships. This RPG funding opportunity provides a mechanism for cross sector teams to move utilize funding to advance collaborative work that will allow for improved outcomes for families impacted by parental substance abuse and child welfare involvement.

A supportive housing approach aligns with the RPG which focuses on addressing common systemic and practice challenges that are barriers to optimal family outcomes, including engagement of parents in substance use treatment; differences in system paradigms and training; conflicting timeframes across the systems; and service shortages in child welfare services and substance use treatment systems. This works allows for alignment of whole family focused services and approaches. Quality supportive housing is recognized by SAMHSA and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as a best-practice for reducing chronic homelessness, which in turn leads to better outcomes for mental health and substance use disorders. Children receive the stability needed to reach their potential in school settings, parents receive the support needed to improve their own health and the health of their family, and ultimately, families are able to grow stronger together both during and after formal child welfare case involvement.

CSH began its supportive housing efforts for child welfare involved families through a small pilot program in New York City in 2007, which later blossomed into our signature program – Keeping Families Together (KFT).  The mix and intensity of KFT supportive housing services are tailored to the unique needs of each member of the family unit and address the trauma that many of these families have experienced. Utilizing a unique approach and collaborative service structure, supportive housing helps keep families together. Early successes with the initial KFT pilot led to the ACYF Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System, with the RTC evaluation scheduled for formal release January 2019. ACF highlighted supportive housing as a promising practice for child welfare families in the ACYF-CB-IM-17-03 Information Memorandum on Efforts by child welfare agencies, local communities, and federal agencies to end family and youth homelessness. The US Interagency Council’s recently released “Home Together: The federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness” highlights the importance of supportive housing and includes a strategy to utilize opportunities in child welfare policy to expand resources for community-based preventive services to support stable housing outcomes for children and families involved with, or at risk of involvement with, the child welfare system.

Grant information: https://ami.grantsolutions.gov/HHS-2018-ACF-ACYF-CU-1382

Information related to prior RPG grants: https://www.cffutures.org/ncsacw/#rpg_projects

Please contact us at 1Roof@csh.org to discuss further how this opportunity aligns with One Roof goals and local efforts.

CSH Names Three New Pay For Success Awardees

CSH has selected New Mexico Appleseed and the Memphis-based Community Alliance for the Homeless (CAFTH) to receive two separate grants 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 Appleseed and CAFTH will receive approximately six months of technical guidance to determine if PFS is a realistic supportive housing funding option for them to pursue.

“We are incredibly honored to be recipients of this important award, but the real beneficiaries are the children in New Mexico at risk of abuse and neglect because their housing is not healthy, stable, or safe,” said Jennifer Ramo, Executive Director of New Mexico Appleseed. “The end result of all this work is that those children will live in a home where they can focus on studying and playing, as every child should.”

The Center for Healthcare Strategies will assist CSH in providing guidance to Appleseed and CAFTH during their grant awards.

“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.”

A third grant has been awarded to the Community Service Council (CSC) in Tulsa for technical assistance to further advance a PFS initiative undertaken by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), which is designed to help youth ages 17-25 transitioning out of foster care or the criminal justice system who lack stable housing or have experienced homelessness or are chronically homeless.

CSH anticipates CSC will receive approximately 12-18 months of technical guidance from its experts as well as the Nonprofit Finance Fund. The goals are for CSC and partners to build capacity and services to actively participate in the ODMHSAS’ effort to create supportive housing for transitioning youth through PFS financing.

“CSC and other key leaders from across the state have been working on the Oklahoma Opportunity Youth PFS project under the leadership of the ODMHSAS since 2014” said Patrice Pratt, Community Service Council division director for housing and homelessness. “CSC and our partners are honored to be selected for this opportunity.  This grant will assist Oklahoma in taking the next step, developing the quality infrastructure and capacity for providers to achieve successful outcomes through the Oklahoma Opportunity Youth PFS project.”

All three of the awards announced on March 19 are made possible because of funding received from the Corporation for National and Community Service combined with additional financial support from CSH’s philanthropic foundation partners.

CSH & CWLA Host Housing & Family Instability Webinar

Housing and Family Instability Webinar
Prevention and intervention strategies for public system leaders
September 28, 2017
3-4:30 PM ET

How does housing instability impact family stability? Join CSH and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) in our second webinar about the challenges families face when they are homeless or unstably housed and engaged in the child welfare system. This 90-minute webinar will offer new research about how homelessness impacts family structure and strategies from housing authorities, child welfare agencies and service providers to address these issues through collaborative and innovative approaches.

Moderators: Alison Harte, CSH; Julie Collins, CWLA

Presenters: Ann Deibert, Broward County (Florida) Housing Authority; Andria Dewson, the HEART Alliance; Kim Somaroo-Rodriquez, Connecticut Department of Children and Families; Amanda Benton, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE).

Register for 9-28-17 Webinar Here

RFP for PFS-TA on Child Welfare-Involved Families Released

RFP Submission Deadline Extended to Tuesday, October 10

CSH is seeking eligible and qualified governments and tribes that are interested in receiving intensive technical assistance to determine the feasibility of and move toward implementing a Pay for Success initiative with the aim of addressing housing instability among child welfare involved families.

CSH intends to select two Sub-Recipients to receive technical assistance. CSH anticipates that each Sub-Recipient will receive approximately 6-9 months of technical assistance. Assistance may be completed in a shorter timeframe, provided that the Sub-Recipient is able to convene the relevant staff for short, intensive 2 day sessions that develop proposals for local decision makers. CSH is interested in working with a site that feels able to accommodate this expedited timeframe.

This new funding opportunity is made possible with grants CSH received through the inaugural Pay for Success (PFS) program of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund (SIF) combined with additional grant support from foundation partners.


Housing for Families & Veterans Underway in San Diego

Vista del Puente Apartments recently broke ground in San Diego, CA. Developed by Townspeople together with National Community Renaissance, Vista del Puente is a three-story, community composed of 52 apartments that will feature one, two and three-bedroom units. Twenty-six of the units will be designated for homeless Veteran households, 12 for homeless families and 13 traditional affordable units will also be provided for individuals and families.

CSH provided a $500,000 acquisition loan so that the developers could purchase the property. This type of capital is often necessary to get a project off the ground and we are thrilled to see this milestone happen!

Vista del Puente will feature an expansive community room, secured entry, tot lot, barbeque area and laundry room. The 2,500 square-feet of community space will be designated for onsite case management and social services that will include: mental health services, substance abuse recovery, job training and job placement assistance to the Veteran population. Counseling and service programs will be tailored to meet the specific needs of the residents.

New Federal Paper Bolsters One Roof

A new brief released last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Child and Family Transitions among Families Experiencing Homelessness reinforces the need for and value of the CSH One Roof initiative. The paper is the fourth in a series that uses Family Options Study data to look at families’ experiences in the 20 months following a shelter stay.

The brief supports the idea that housing and family instability are related, and families who stay in emergency shelter have dynamic family structures. It underscores that policymakers and practitioners should seek to understand parent-child and parent-partner separations and reunifications within families experiencing homelessness. Some of the important conclusions from the brief:

  • About 30 percent of sheltered homeless families reported a separation from at least one family member.
  • Family transitions continued in the following 20 months, with 10 percent of families experiencing new  child separations and 8 percent reporting reunifications with children who had not been with the family in shelter.
  • Formal out-of-home placements were rare for children while families stayed in shelter but grew over time.
  • The separation of a child from the family while in shelter was associated with continued housing instability 20 months later.
  • Similarly, continued housing instability after a family’s initial shelter stay was associated with a child being separated from the family 20 months after that initial shelter stay.

In addition, the U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released earlier this year an important Information Memorandum (IM) on child welfare and homelessness. The IM is meant to help child welfare agencies implement a desired practice or rule. Identified with the IM are promising practices, one of which is Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System.

Spotlight on San Francisco Families Moving Forward

The San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA), in partnership with the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) and the Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP), has worked to successfully house families that are re-unifying through the child welfare system in a demonstration program called Families Moving Forward (FMF). 

The SFHA has an allocation of Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers which are used to provide rental subsidies to the eligible families. The SFHA had several years experience utilizing FUP vouchers with the absence of the non-profit partnership that is unique to the FMF demonstration program.  While still successful in re-unifying families prior to the demonstration, the SFHA has found that with the incorporation of the HPP partners, operations have been streamlined, timeliness of voucher utilization has improved and the families served have a stronger support system to help them navigate the public housing intake and lease-up process.

San Francisco’s rental market is one of the most competitive in the country which adds a whole new set of challenges to families who are seeking stable rental housing.  Through the ongoing collaboration with the HSA and HPP partners, the SFHA has benefited tremendously in identifying operational efficiency and also has given the families served the opportunity to successfully compete in a tight market.

The SFHA has an overall program success rate of less than 30% for families utilizing general Housing Choice Vouchers, but with the additional wrap-around services and a housing search component that is provided by HPP, San Francisco sees much higher rates of success for the families served in the FMF program.

Based on the thriving partnerships and participation in this demonstration program and the successes that we’ve observed, the SFHA is considering expanding the FMF model to other populations served by Section 8 rental subsidies.

Sarah Ramler, Director of Leased Housing, San Francisco Housing Authority

San Francisco Families Moving Forward is one five grantees receiving assistance from the CSH Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center. The grantees are testing an intensive approach to providing child welfare involved families with supportive housing that integrates social and health services. The initiative reflects the growing recognition that placing children in foster care is too often detrimental to their health and well-being and that more should be done to help families stay together.