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Chicago’s Community-Wide Housing First Approach. Betsy Benito Chicago Department of Housing NAEH Conference 2007. Selling Points for System-wide Change. We were serving significant numbers of both individuals and families, and neither very well

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chicago s community wide housing first approach
Chicago’s Community-Wide Housing First Approach

Betsy Benito

Chicago Department of Housing

NAEH Conference 2007

selling points for system wide change
Selling Points for System-wide Change
  • We were serving significant numbers of both individuals and families, and neither very well
  • Emergency Response System, designed to expand and contract with need, was not contracting
  • Other characteristics:
    • Too many people entering shelter
    • Inconsistent services
    • No clear path to housing
    • Everyone lined up for supportive housing resources, even if they didn’t need the support
  • Change can happen with current resources
guiding documents supporting community wide housing first
Guiding Documents Supporting Community-wide Housing First
  • “Getting Housed, Staying Housed” (2002)
  • Program Models Chart (2003)
  • System Assumptions and Conversion Methodology (2004)
  • Implementation Schedule (2005)
hallmarks of chicago s plan
Hallmarks of Chicago’s Plan
  • System Projections
  • Prevention Resources and Infrastructure
  • Conversion of Transitional Housing
  • Targeting Resources
    • Low-income individuals and families
    • Housing and services for hard to serve individuals
system projections
System Projections
  • Create a set of assumptions about the people who use your current services
    • Disability rates
    • Length of homelessness
    • Exits to unsubsidized housing
    • Family size
  • Use national statistics if you don’t have your own data
  • Determine of those who are homeless today, what housing would they need/qualify for with homeless resources
  • Figure in what are the needs of those who are “newly” homeless - are they different from the current homeless population?
increased focus on prevention
Increased Focus on Prevention
  • Prevention is a cost effective investment - easy sell as a place to put additional resources
  • We have associated prevention outcomes with decreases in shelter use over the past 4 years
  • New infrastructure is being put in place to streamline access to funds and capture data on people who request resources
conversion of transitional housing
Conversion of Transitional Housing
  • Conversion of Transitional (1-2 year programs) to either 120-day Interim Housing or Permanent Housing is the linchpin of Chicago’s Housing First approach
  • Program conversions changed the expectation of services provided and the associated outcomes- particularly in relation to permanent housing placement and retention
  • Technical assistance has been provided - paid in large part by private foundations - first to get agencies thinking differently about homeless programs, and now on using specific strategies to meet or exceed outcomes
targeting resources
Targeting Resources
  • Targeting new resources - or existing resources - can help understand how different populations respond to a housing-first approach
  • Can you “cream” households able to pay rent and use mainstream services into unsubsidized housing?
  • Can people who live on the street succeed in permanent housing with services?
success and challenges
Success and Challenges
  • We had to make change and movement with little to no new resources
  • We now have received a new commitment of housing resources for long-term homeless to jumpstart movement out of shelter
  • 2006 had the lowest number of homeless households since before the Plan began
  • Monitoring “fidelity” to program models and evaluating client outcomes