We wanted to evaluate our programs, national research and best practices in order to recommend changes and expansion of our efforts to prevent homelessness
In Alameda County, CA we looked at data in the HMIS system and conducted interviews to find out who is entering shelterWe found in HMIS that the smallest number of shelter entries were people who had had their own housing in the seven days prior to entry (5%), while the largest number came from staying with family and friends( 28%).The second largest groups came from either another shelter or service site (23%) or a place not meant for human habitation (23%). Other places that were reported were a hotel or motel using own funds (7%) and in an institutional setting such as a hospital, jail, substance abuse treatment program or foster care (11%).
Most of the households interviewed experienced an interim period after losing their housing and prior to entering an emergency shelter during which they stayed with various family members or friends. During this period, most were not connected with any resources to help them to identify long term affordable housing or assist them to address other barriers to housing. Only four of nineteen households indicated making use of Information and Referral from the “211” resource line. Most households had not recently had their own housing. The four households which had recently been residing in their own housing where they were paying rent had lost their housing due to an inability to pay rent. In all four cases the family’s income was inadequate to sustain the housing over time and would have required a longer term rent subsidy in order to maintain them in their current housing.
None of these groups were likely to get help previously
BUT, case managers can override the score if they disagree with the recommendation. We track the original score and the reason for overriding.
3.5 Elaine deColigny
Prevention: Targeting the Imminently Homeless <br />National Conference on Ending Homelessness<br />July 14, 2011<br />Washington, D.C.<br />Elaine de Coligny, Executive Director<br />EveryOne Home, Alameda County, CA<br />1<br />
Alameda County’s Homelessness Prevention Study<br />The first strategy in our Plan to end homelessness is to prevent it<br />In 2008 EveryOne Home commissioned a study of our prevention efforts in Alameda County<br />The study was conducted by Katharine Gale Consulting, and here is what we found and what we did about it with HPRP funds<br />2<br />
The Typical Homeless Prevention Program<br />Targets households <br />with own lease for an apartment/house<br />who experience a “crisis” that leads to a rent arrears situation/an eviction notice<br />who demonstrate they can sustain the housing after the one-time or short-term assistance<br />Is restricted to one-time only (often once in a life time) in many cases<br />Before HPRP Alameda County’s programs worked this way.<br />3<br />
Historical assumptions about Homelessness Prevention<br />Households being evicted will become homeless if we don’t help them (so when we do help them we have successfully prevented homelessness.)<br />Households who can’t prove they can stabilize very quickly without assistance are “bad risks.”<br />4<br />
National research contradicts assumption #1<br />Evictions don’t necessarily lead to homelessness<br />Shinn et. al found that only 20% of families that received eviction notices went on to be homeless: 80% did not<br />Shinn also found that only 22% of families entering homeless shelters had ever had an eviction<br />44% of families entering shelter had never had their own apartment<br />5<br />
So, where do we find the people who will become homeless?<br />6<br />
HPRP! A big opportunity to make our system better<br />We wanted to build a program that reached people at greater risk of homelessness so we were actually preventing it.<br />We wanted to test the assumption that Households who can’t prove they can stabilize very quickly without assistance are “bad risks.”<br />10<br />
Who we targeted for prevention assistance <br />People living doubled up with family and friends <br />People being evicted from subsidized housing<br />Households with incomes at 30% AMI or lower<br />11<br />
How program works<br />Initial potential eligibility and match with targeting determined at 211 then referred to a Housing Resource Center (HRC) nearby<br />At HRC the head of household is given a financial assessment that scores them based on current and past income, housing costs, debt, and barriers such as past housing and legal history <br />50-65 generally provided one time referrals<br />< 25 generally referred to longer-term programs or shelter<br />People who score in the mid range (25-50) and are eligible are recommended for HPRP or assistance<br />Assessment scores are included in the HMIS record<br />12<br />
Preliminary data from year 1<br />1,242 households enrolled in prevention services<br />73% have exited<br />78% of exiters have received financial assistance<br />The average score on the assessment = 39<br />13<br />
Preliminary data from year 1<br />Those served had both high scores (above 35) and low scores (35 and below)<br />About 1/3 were low scorers (i.e. higher risk, higher barrier).<br />Low scorers look different at intake, but not in terms of outcomes<br />14<br />
How do high scorers and low scorers differ?<br />15<br />
How do high scorers and low scorers differ?<br />16<br />
Year 1 data continued<br />One significant difference is that low scorers exit the program without having received financial assistance at a higher rate thank high scorers—33% versus 18%<br />May imply that low scorers have a harder time completing all documentation/verification requirements in HPRP<br />Need to check on housing stability of both groups a year after exit from program to see if outcomes remain similar<br />18<br />
Has Prevention Program Impacted 2011 Homeless Count?<br />2009 Homeless Count identified just over 3,000 hidden homeless<br />those living temporarily with family and friends, staying in hotels or about to be evicted within 7 days<br />Triple the number since 2003<br />2011 Homeless Count showed a 3.8% reduction in our literally homeless census<br />The hidden homeless of 2009 did not join the ranks of the literally homeless in 2011.<br />19<br />
Conclusions<br />Households who are “riskier” on paper may do just as well remaining housed as those we have historically assisted.<br />If we are going to use rental assistance to prevent homelessness we need to look beyond households that currently have rental agreements especially to serve those who are doubled up and exiting institutions<br />Use HMIS data to develop and evaluate your targeting strategies<br />20<br />
For more information<br />Visit www.everyonehome.org:<br /> download 2008 Prevention study, our HPRP program design, the assessment tool, and our Plan<br />21<br />