100-Day Challenges to End Homelessness, March-June, 2015
On March 9, four Coordinated Access Networks (CANs) took up 100-Day challenges to re-engineer local systems and accelerate efforts to end homelessness, following on the success of the 100-Day challenge in New Haven in 2014. All five teams, Greater Hartford, Southeastern CT, Northeastern CT, Fairfield County, and New Haven set a goal related to ending homelessness and specific to their community to accomplish within the 100-day period. They worked with coaches from the Connecticut-based Rapid Results Institute, the founders of the 100-Day approach, to move their work forward. CCEH and Journey Home of Hartford led the recent effort, and more than 140 agencies participated. Among the five communities, they have housed to date more than 600 formerly homeless households, with more than 270 additional households matched to available housing slots!
On June 24th, Governor Dannel P. Malloy joined the teams at a review conference to celebrate the achievements and reflect on lessons learned in each community. “These efforts launched over the last few months are making a big impact in Connecticut, with results like we’ve never seen before,” said the Governor. “Ensuring the availability of housing to veterans and chronically homeless individuals is the right thing to do – and the smart thing to do… there were 71 communities in the U.S. who have signed up for [the Zero: 2016] challenge – only 18 are on target to get it done, and were one of the 18, and it’s because of the work that you all have done.”
The Fairfield effort involved two teams: one to address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness, the other to work with families.
The Fairfield individuals team implemented a system-wide diversion process and a navigator approach to reaching disconnected populations. Their matching system ensured that the right level of support went to the right people to ensure resources were most effectively used. They also reduced the time it takes to get individuals off the street and into shelter and worked to make the system more empowering and client focused. The Fairfield Individuals team set a goal of housing 100 individuals and matching 200 to services: they successfully housed 92 individuals during the challenge.
The Fairfield Families Team set a goal to eliminate the shelter waiting list and to house or divert 100 families. The Fairfield Families team created a collaborative system, which includes the use of a master list, for prioritizing families who were in urgent need and case conferencing among all agencies. During their 100 days, the Families Team was able to house 69 families and divert to housing solutions (rather than entering shelter) 34 families. The team also reduced the wait time between a family’s 2-1-1 call and their CAN intake appointment from months to just days, and also reduced the wait time from shelter to housing.
The Hartford 100-Day team set a goal of securing leases for 100 of their highest priority individuals. The Hartford CAN created an extensive list of all clients identified as being chronically homeless and at the conclusion of the 100 days, Hartford providers were able to successfully house 50 chronically homeless individuals, match an additional 46 non-chronic households to available housing program slots, and conditionally match another 47 chronically homeless individuals to available housing units. The Hartford CAN also put together a “document fair” to help clients get ‘document ready.’ This fair hosted providers from the City of Hartford, the Department of Public Health, Social Security, the Department of Corrections, and several other agencies that could provide identifying documentation necessary for securing housing. At the fair, 47 people secured birth certificates, 23 people got new Social Security cards, and providers administered 57 VI-SPDAT assessments to clients experiencing homelessness who had not yet been assessed for housing needs.
In 2014, the Greater New Haven 100-Day Challenge team set out to house 75% of the 107 chronically homeless individuals identified in their community by July 20th, 2014. By the end of the challenge they housed 43 individuals and matched an additional 59. Prior to the challenge PSH waitlists for some programs were up to 3 years. By re-engineering the system through the 100-Day challenge, providers brought average time to placement in PSH down to 75 days! In addition, Greater New Haven adopted shared assessment tools were standardized and improved their community-wide data collection. The New Haven team encountered several challenges to achieving their goal including inability to locate people and quickly getting people “document ready,” and are continuing to work on systems improvements. The New Haven team celebrated their 432 day of the challenge at this year’s commencement ceremony: they are now up to 247 households housed/provisionally matched.
The goal of the Northeastern CAN was to house 20 chronically homeless individuals. They exceeded that goal by housing 23 chronically homeless individuals as well as 10 non-chronic, 2 chronic families and 17 non-chronic families. In addition to the individuals and families already housed, they have identified seven high-priority individuals for permanent supportive housing, most of whom are document ready. One notable challenge to the Northeastern CAN has been their fair market rent: the rate is considered too low for the market by local landlords, and providers have a hard time getting landlords to accept the FMR with utilities included. However, despite this fact, the Northeastern CAN exceeded the goals they set and are on their way to securing housing for more families and individuals. The Northeaster CAN believes that they are now working as a close knit team, and have increased their knowledge of what agencies in the CAN are capable of doing. Appointment wait time has decreased from approximately three weeks to less than a week because agencies have agreed to add more appointments and take on more tasks to aid in assisting people experiencing homelessness quicker and more efficiently.
The Southeastern CAN set a goal of housing 150 individuals experiencing homelessness: providers have housed 141 individuals with 10 chronically homeless individuals matched to new PSH slots. The Southeastern CAN was also successful in reducing the length of stay at the largest shelter in the region. The CAN was able to create a more fluid structure for clients to engage in housing services by allowing housing program staff to go to the shelter instead of having the client go to the service provider.