Tag Archives: 100K Homes

100,000 Homes in the Times

Sometime in June, the 100,000 Homes Campaign — an initiative launched four years ago to help communities around the country place 100,000 chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing — expects to announce that it has reached its goal…

The campaign … has helped to shift the way homeless organizations and agencies around the country set goals, measure progress, prioritize individuals and coordinate their efforts to house people living on the streets.

– from The Push to End Chronic Homelessness Is Working by David Bornstein

Congratulations to Community Solutions, the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, and all the local campaigns (including our own here in KC!) on nearly reaching the campaign’s goal, and on another high-profile media piece!

What’s next for the local campaign?

  • Integrating our housing placement team and outreach team meetings into the emerging Greater Kansas City coordinated housing system
  • Determining local interest in Community Solutions’ next project, Zero: 2016
  • Continue providing and improving permanent housing options for people experiencing homelessness in KC!

You can get involved, especially if you are a permanent housing or rapid re-housing provider, whether you use MAACLink or not; if you’re interested, would you contact us?

Ending Homelessness in Utah by Housing People

Following up on my previous post about the million dollars spent not housing Murray, here’s an article on what Utah is doing to end homelessness.  One key finding:

In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached.

We have every reason to believe these findings hold true nation-wide.  For example, locally in Kansas City, ReDiscover’s hospital diversion program has saved approximately $13.7 million in medical costs with an $800,000 up-front investment in just 18 months.  The state of Missouri is implementing it state-wide, and it’s easy to understand why, whether your motivation is helping people, saving money, or both.

Are these articles true to your experience?  And if so, what data would help your community move toward ending homelessness by housing people first?

For Nine Ambulance Trips, We Can House Someone Safely

My sister has been reading Malcolm Gladwell, chanced across his piece on Million-Dollar Murray, and asked me if it rang true to my experiences with homeless services in Kansas City.  In it, he argues that “homeless may be easier to solve than to manage.” I’d add “more humane” and “more affordable” to that, and I think he’d agree.

“We came up with three names that were some of our chronic inebriates in the downtown area, that got arrested the most often … One of the guys had been in jail previously, so he’d only been on the streets for six months. In those six months, he had accumulated a bill of a hundred thousand dollars—and that’s at the smaller of the two hospitals near downtown Reno. It’s pretty reasonable to assume that the other hospital had an even larger bill… [This person] was Murray Barr, and Johns and O’Bryan realized that if you totted up all his hospital bills for the ten years that he had been on the streets—as well as substance-abuse-treatment costs, doctors’ fees, and other expenses—Murray Barr probably ran up a medical bill as large as anyone in the state of Nevada.

“It cost us one million dollars not to do something about Murray,” O’Bryan said.

A trusted source here locally tells me that they have a client who called the ambulance 126 times in 2012.  At $700 per call, that’s $88,200 in services in one year before adding any medical treatment or other emergency services.  In comparison, a conservative estimate of the cost of one unit of permanent supportive housing is $6,500 per year.  That’s not to say that a person in supportive housing won’t ever need an ambulance, but they certainly won’t need one every third day.

Why do we use our resources this way?  As human beings, why aren’t we insisting on safe, appropriate housing for everyone?  As taxpayers, why aren’t we demanding more permanent supportive housing?  Gladwell says it’s because the answers don’t conform to our moral intuitions.

Power-law solutions [ED: Power law at Wikipedia] have little appeal to the right, because they involve special treatment for people who do not deserve special treatment; and they have little appeal to the left, because their emphasis on efficiency over fairness suggests the cold number-crunching of Chicago-school cost-benefit analysis … In Denver, John Hickenlooper, the city’s enormously popular mayor, has worked on the homelessness issue tirelessly during the past couple of years … He has commissioned studies to show what a drain on the city’s resources the homeless population has become. But, he says, “there are still people who stop me going into the supermarket and say, ‘I can’t believe you’re going to help those homeless people, those bums.’”

So, how do we frame developing permanent supportive housing units to voters, funders, and elected officials?

You’re Invited to Hear Iain De Jong Speak

From our local Homelessness Task Force:

The greater Kansas City social service community is invited to attend the Homelessness Task Force’s quarterly meeting featuring guest speaker and consultant Iain De Jong, with the theme of Building a Common Agenda around Service Prioritization and Housing First.

Friday, Oct. 25, 2013
9–11 a.m. at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library

How is Greater Kansas City identifying the most vulnerable individuals, youth and families? How can we ensure they have the support they need to be successful? What are the national best practices for assessment, triage and prioritizing of services based on client need?

To answer these questions, the Homelessness Task Force will host Iain De Jong, a national consultant on homelessness system change, for a conversation around developing a service prioritization system and the Housing First philosophy. This system would help connect at-risk and homeless individuals to the organization that can best meet their needs for services and resources, and is required as part of the federal Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act.

Iain will give his full presentation at the quarterly meeting of the Homelessness Task Force. There will be limited time for Q&A. RSVP to lelsas@marc.org (preferred, but not required).

Iain will also discuss four additional topics at meetings on Thursday, Oct. 24, and Friday, Oct. 25. View the full schedule.

Iain De Jong is a passionate advocate for positive social change. Programs that he has designed, developed and/or provided leadership to have been awarded and acknowledged nationally and internationally. This includes acknowledgement by the UN’s World Habitat Awards for having created one of the eight best housing practices in the world, a national best practice by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and a gold Leadership award winner by Deloitte and IPAC as the best municipal program.

Several of us, myself included, from the MAAC office will be attending.  As our community continues to improve its housing system with coordinated intake, an exploration of Housing First as a housing model, the 100,000 Homes campaign, and a discussion around service prioritization, we look forward to incorporating the data needs of these changes into MAACLink.

The Task Force has also published good information sheets on these topics:

Coordinated Intake

Housing First

Service Priortization

KC 100,000 Homes Campaign Year One Accomplishments

Just about one year ago, Kansas City, MO launched its 100,000 Homes campaign as part of the nation-wide 100,000 Homes movement.  The movement aims to place 100,000 of our most vulnerable homeless neighbors in permanent housing by July 2014, and is on track to reach that ambitious goal!  The campaign operates by building a list of homeless people in a community, and bringing together case workers, outreach workers, housing providers, and other stakeholders to address each individual’s needs one-by-one.

Ehren Dohler, of reStart, as been our local campaign manager for the past year, getting the Kansas City team up and running.  At the campaign’s leadership team meeting last week, he shared the following accomplishments of the campaign so far:

  • Placed 99 chronically homeless and/or highly vulnerable people into permanent housing since October 2012
  • Kansas City now consistently houses 2.5% of its chronic homeless population per month (about 10 people per month)
  • The 100,000 Homes Vulnerability Index has been incorporated into the Point-in-Time Count
  • HUD-VASH and Shelter-Plus-Care vouchers are increasingly well-utilized in Kansas City

As a participant in the campaign, I can also add an important accomplishment that’s hard to quantify; we’ve learned a ton.  We’ve learned about each other, what we do, and how we get things done.  We’ve learned a new process for housing people.  We’ve learned about the limitations of the existing housing system, and what some of our next steps are to increase the resources available to the population we serve.  We’ve learned to work more closely together.

The 100,000 Homes campaign doesn’t end when the 100,000th person is housed; it ends when everyone who needs housing is housed.  It’s what we learn in working with the first 100,000 of our homeless neighbors that will make housing everyone possible.