PREVENTION AND RAPID REHOUSING FOR DV SURVIVORS: DV Housing First Pilot Project National Conference on Ending Homelessness 7/13-15, 2011
WHAT IS THE PROJECT?
In 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded 2 years of funding to:
Four domestic violence agencies in Washington State to pilot a basic Housing First Approach to housing/services for survivors
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide technical assistance and support
WHAT WERE THE OUTCOMES AFTER THE FIRST YEAR?
By the end of 2010, 112 participants had entered the program
40.2% had permanent housing at program entry and had retained that housing at point-in-time check in
52.7% obtained permanent housing and were still in permanent housing at point-in-time check in
2.7% were working on permanent housing
4.5% had obtained permanent housing but were no longer in permanent housing
WHAT WAS THE SERVICE LEVEL?
55.9% Light Touch
27% Medium Touch
17.1% High Need
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Light touch—simple, discrete needs that are met quickly
Medium touch—discrete needs met as above, plus connected with agency’s services for a short period of time
Higher needs—all of the above, plus long term planning with the advocate in order to obtain housing, improve financial situation, and address other issues
WHAT WAS THE HOUSING STATUS OF SURVIVORS?
49.6% had permanent housing when they entered program
50.4% were either homeless or in shelter
TREND IN 2011?
28 new program participants in first quarter
75% had permanent housing at intake
21.4% were in shelter
3.6% were homeless
Increase in light touch and high needs
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
“ I guess being flexible has just been the biggest thing to learn about this project. It is not saying no, and instead thinking about, ‘Well, why not? Could we do it? Okay, so how can we do it.’”
Survivor-centered advocacy is key
Meeting survivor where s/he is
Advocacy focused on safety planning with each step
Reinforcement of autonomy and self-determination—choices honored…always
Thinking “outside the box” for creative solutions
FLEXIBILITY IN FUNDING
Flexible funding leads to:
Tailored services that support family stability
Help for those who may have “fallen through the cracks”
Efficient use of funds
Saying yes instead of saying no
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIPS
Advocates learned that the time investment in building relationships with private landlords and public housing agencies increased understanding of domestic violence and willingness to rent to survivors.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR THE PROJECT?
Current 4 agency cohort will receive additional funding for third year, with emphasis on sustainability plans for approach
New cohort of up to 8 agencies in process of being selected for 3 years of funding, with emphasis on culturally/linguistically specific and tribal communities.
WSCADV funded to provide technical assistance for 3 more years
AND AFTER 2014?
Build on the current learning community of cohort agencies
Publicize lessons learned and outcomes from project
Create forums for policy makers, public and private funders, and community donors to participate and learn
Share strategies and tools to replicate project in specific communities—statewide and beyond
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Housing First is possible for DV survivors—even when there is “current” DV and a high level of lethality
It is possible for DV survivors to remain in or return to their homes—thereby preventing homelessness
Services (advocacy) have to be driven by the survivor within a framework of safety planning
Advocate staff need to be highly trained and creative with excellent critical thinking skills
Think flexibility in funding for financial assistance
MORE IMPLICATIONS: STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
Include DV agencies in Continuum of Care plans and County 10-year Plans to End Homelessness
Develop program protocols through DV lens
Coordinated Entry and HMIS solutions
Mutual Consultative Support
Landlord Liaison Work Together
Linda Olsen, MA, MSW
Housing Program Coordinator
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence