Archive for March 21st, 2012
And while we’re on the subject of Alameda County, one of their jurisdictions, the City of Berkeley, was kind enough to share their Substantial Amendment for ESG. [include link to document]. The document was created by the City of Berkeley and EveryOne Home, working jointly with other jurisdictions in Alameda County to develop a coordinated ESG response. They have about $81,000 to spend on their Priority Home initiative, and plan on rapidly re-housing 31 households and preventing homelessness for 5 households. I’ve excerpted sections on program design and performance measures to give a sense of how they are implementing the program, but you can check out the link for the whole thing.
Here’s part of the program design section:
Priority Home is designed on a “progressive engagement” model, intended to provide as little support as needed to divert or re-house households quickly and reserve resources as much as possible for other households, while leaving the door open for increased assistance if needed… [H]ousehold’s entering will receive either 1) deposit only 2) a full or partial deposit and one month rent, intended for household’s with a source of income, employment or disability or retirement benefits, sufficient to cover rent after re-housing but with need for initial support to securely transition to housing, 3) full or partial deposit and a short-term subsidy to temporarily bridge the income gap, typically restricted to six months but with extensions permitted with authority approval; 4) services only to locate suitable housing with no or low rent. Households entering at one level needing more assistance can be transferred to a higher level or out of the program to more intensive supports.
And here’s part of the performance section:
The City of Berkeley participates in the EveryOne Home “Measuring Success and Reporting Outcomes” initiative which has established performance measures and benchmarks for all components of the homeless service system. All providers in the Priority Home Partnership will be contractually expected to meet or exceed performance Standards.
- Targeting those who need the assistance most: In designing Priority Home, the community has developed Targeting criteria to maximize the chances that assistance is given to those who are already homeless or most likely to become so. As all agencies must be agreed to this targeting structure to participate, this performance measure will be monitored at a program-wide level through review of HMIS data and as a compliance measure during provider monitorings.
- Reducing the number of people living on streets and in emergency shelters: Approximately 76% of those anticipated to be served in the ESG funded portion of priority Home will be homeless upon entry. The other 24% are expected to be very likely to occupy a shelter bed if it assisted. Through review of HMIS data, Priority Home will track where people enter the program from, and EveryOne Home will compare this information to point in time count data collected annually. Because the demand for shelter currently far outstrips the resources, we do not anticipate immediate reductions in those sheltered but do anticipate increased turnover in shelter beds, allowing for more people to be sheltered instead of unsheltered.
-Shortening the time people spend homeless: a primary goal of the EveryOne Home performance Standards is reducing lengths of stay in homelessness. Rapid rehousing is expected to occur within 45 days of homelessness, and prevention assistance within 14 days for households who are not moving, and 45 days, for households who are.
- Ensuring assistance provided is effective at reducing barriers: the greatest barrier to housing for most clients is lack of income. Two performance standards for programs in Alameda County address this barrier; 1) percent of households leaving with employment income and 2) percent of households entering with no income that leave with an income.
Another demonstration of effectively having reduced housing barriers is whether people assisted later return to the system as homeless. Alameda County has a system wide goal that less than 10% of households assisted return to the homeless system within 12 months.
You can find a copy of the Berkeley ESG Plan Amendment on our website.
We at the Alliance spend a lot of time training communities to prepare for the HEARTH Act. We work with communities to assess performance, revamp governance structures, and facilitate community planning. What we have found may not surprise you – changing the way homelessness assistance systems work is not an easy task. Most difficult is moving beyond action plans and hypotheticals to actual, concrete changes that make a difference in how quickly and effectively programs move people into permanent housing. Last week I discussed Alameda County CA’s prizes for high performing programs. Today I look at their recently announced “EveryOne Housed Academy.”
This is how the “EveryOne Housed Academy” will work: programs send a team including executive management, middle level management, and front line staff for a two day training that enables each team to translate best practices such as housing first, harm reduction, and trauma informed services into policies and procedures that will work in their programs to permanently house people more quickly. Teams will have the opportunity to evaluate everything about their operations, including signage in program spaces, shelter rules, case management approaches, job descriptions, etc., and they will leave the Academy with rewritten policies and a plan of action.
The EveryOne Housed Academy is being developed by an eight-person design team that includes providers, consumers, funders and EveryOne Home staff. Programs will have to apply for the Academy, with priority going to programs that serve the largest numbers. They hope to hold the first Academy in June, the second in September and eventually work with ten different agencies.