2.10 Permanent Supportive Housing for Families (Harte)
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2.10 Permanent Supportive Housing for Families (Harte)



This workshop will examine permanent supportive housing models that are serving families with the greatest barriers to housing stability, including families that experienced chronic homelessness.

This workshop will examine permanent supportive housing models that are serving families with the greatest barriers to housing stability, including families that experienced chronic homelessness.



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  • Quick overview of the pilot and then Our partners will talk about different aspects of the pilot, serving families in SH and some of the collaborative efforts that were critical to the pilot
  • Case of Nixzmary Brown – Homeless and child welfare systems had repeatedly encountered family but unable to intervene led to continued abuse and neglect and child’s death Confounding to most people b/c family was known to both the shelter system and the child welfare system but nieher system was able to servie the family effectively and prevent the death of the little girl RWJF and CSH hypothesize that Permanent Supportive Housing could become a new strategy for preventing abuse and neglect among multi-system involved families
  • CSH brought together several New York City agencies, experts and nonprofit organizations experienced with providing supportive housing for families to design the KFT intervention collaboratively. With the Foundation’s backing, 30 units of permanent supportive housing were made available to homeless families at highest risk of having a child removed. CSH also worked to ensure
  • The KFT model turned the usual paradigm for prioritizing affordable housing on its head. Rather than targeting the most “stable” families, KFT sought out families with the most complicated cases and who were at greatest risk Interagency collab very important coming from different places -- PSH was looked at as vehicle for serving those families who have been homeless the longest – in order to prioritize families through the lens of another system – child welfare – needed the working group to establish contacts and determine where families needed to be identified (shelter not enough – not good at identifying disabilities (nature of relationships) some shelters had perspective of “housing readiness” red tape often a deterrent to highest need families
  • 80% (N=24) were found eligible for supportive housing due to a history of substance abuse and 10% were found eligible because of a history of severe/ persistent mental illness, or medical disabilities
  • Intergenerational cycle of complex traumas, parental substance abuse and out of home placements
  • Although chronically homeless adults have generally low levels of engagement in outpatient mental health services, substance abuse treatment and health care, many KFT families took advantage of the services available to them:
  • Seeing very positive outcomes related the housing stability, child welfare involvement and children’s education compared from before move-in to one year after move;
  • Working group met 25 times 2007 – 2010 2007 -08 focused on identification of referral criteria and recruitment of families 2008 -09 model development -- family challenges, building provider capacity to serve families 09-10 Larger Policy Issues – PA & Housing Retention & ACS status (missed appointments, etc.) Looking at new models Advocacy: building a housing/child welfare advocacy coalition : Looking at underserved populations;
  • Different perspectives Give Background on providers CAMBA Multi service provider St John’s MH Housing Singles Lantern – mixed housing developers – affordable/lighter service models Palladia – substance use treatment; most experience serving families in supportive housing WIN – Substance use and shelter Refer to hand out for more details on provider history

2.10 Permanent Supportive Housing for Families (Harte) 2.10 Permanent Supportive Housing for Families (Harte) Presentation Transcript

  • Keeping Families Together: Using Permanent Supportive Housing to Preserve and Strengthen High-Risk Families
  • Corporation for Supportive Housing
    • CSH is a national non-profit organization that helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness.
    • Since 1991, CSH has been advancing its mission by providing advocacy , expertise , leadership , and financial resources to make it easier to create and operate supportive housing.
  • Keeping Families Together (KFT) Overview
    • Three-year pilot funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to determine whether of not permanent supportive housing can increase housing stability and reduce/prevent incidences of child neglect and abuse among chronically homeless families.
  • Why Target Child Welfare-involved Families?
    • Research shows high prevalence of child welfare involvement among homeless families.
    • Family homelessness on the rise
    • NYC tragedy brings to light “systems failure” too big to ignore.
    • New supportive housing investment and production in NYC.
  • Primary Program Elements
    • Thirty units of Permanent Supportive Housing targeted to high need families at-risk of separation to foster care.
    • Full-scale evaluation measures both systems and family-level outcomes (housing stability, child welfare involvement and general family functioning).
    • Collaborative implementation effort brought together both government and nonprofit housing providers (6 housing providers and 5 government agencies).
    • Clinical training and consultation provided through a contract with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine to build capacity of housing providers to serve highest need families.
  • ACS Field Office, ACS Contracted Preventive Agencies Court Unit Family Court Children’s Attorneys Parents’ Attorneys KFT Housing providers interview eligible applicants ACS/DHS Child Advantage Match DHS Shelters CSH/Keeping Families Together ACS FAMILIES: Open & Indicated Case DHS FAMILIES 1 of 2 years homeless or “at-risk” Families are placed in housing; program evaluator collects baseline data Identifying Families Typically Out of Reach HRA Determines Eligibility DHS
  • KFT Family Characteristics
    • Based on interviews with 30 adults (29 families):
    • Typical KFT family is headed by a single mother of color in her mid-30s.
    • Majority of heads of households had not completed high school (69%) and only a very small percentage had been employed in the 3 years prior to the start of the pilot.
    • Substantial histories of past trauma including: parental drug or alcohol abuse; parental death or abandonment; sexual, physical, or verbal abuse; neglect; foster care, homelessness and chronic housing instability.
    • 96% have a history of substance abuse. 54% had been diagnosed with mental illness.
    • 50% of the minor children moved into the housing with their family; about a third were in foster care or an informal placement at that time.
  • Childhood Experiences of KFT Heads of Household
  • Service Utilization
  • KFT Outcomes: Residential Stability
    • Nearly all (90%) KFT families remain housed, some for as long as 30 months.
    • The shelter histories of 15 DHS comparison families show a cumulative average shelter duration of 15.3 months, ranging from 2-30 months.
      • Seven families (46.7%) exited shelter after this initial stay. Eight families (53.3%) either remained in shelter without interruption or had episodes of one or two additional shelter stays during the period under study.  
  • KFT Outcomes: Children’s Safety and Well-Being
    • 62% of child welfare cases open at the time of housing placement were closed.
    • Four children who were in foster case reunified with their families over the course of the pilot.
    • The school-age children housed during the 2007-08 school year showed steady average increases in school attendance over three years, from before move-in to one year after move-in.
  • Keeping Families Together Partners
  • KFT Government Partners
    • Government agencies involved:
    • NYC Department of Homeless Services
      • Helped to identify and recruit eligible families; prioritized ACS –involvement among all those eligible for supportive housing; built awareness of project among family shelter providers and families.
    • NYC Housing Preservation and Development
      • Coordinated development timeline with recruitment efforts.
    • NYC Administration for Children’s Services
      • Helped to identify and recruit families; confirmed eligibility status; helped providers overcome bureaucratic obstacles related to their child welfare involvement (education, communication).
    • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
      • Contract with KFT providers; provide technical assistance regarding NY/NY III implementation.
    • NYC Human Resources Administration
      • Clarified eligibility application process and eligibility criteria.
  • KFT Non-Profit Provider Partners Provider Name Units Model Location CAMBA 2 Integrated Brooklyn LESC 10 Single-Site Bronx St. John’s LLP 2 Single-Site Bronx The Lantern Group 6 Single-Site Bronx Palladia, Inc. 4 Single-Site Bronx Women-in-Need 5 Scattered-Site Brooklyn
  • Alison Harte Project Director, Keeping Families Together [email_address] Donna Tapper [email_address] Rebecca Swann-Jackson [email_address]