I attended the OrgCode Summit and have known of Iain’s work for several years and I built the OrgCode tools in the local HMIS. Iain’s presentation had much value in sparking the beginning of systems change thinking. His perspective about managing vs. ending homelessness is well taken and not new.
1. Let me offer some “alt-facts” to a few Iain’s comments regarding resourcing emergency services. When somebody says something is evidence-based and doesn’t cite the source of that evidence I do my own follow up. In regard to tiny houses, homeless huts, I could find one formal research paper and the findings were generally positive.
2. Internet information was mostly based on local media articles so I contacted a peer who works at the City of Seattle. Seattle operates three dignaty village “type” projects that include huts and tents. Residents are formally case managed and data is collected. Seattle’s performance data as of two weeks ago indicates that approx 28% of the village clients had exits to some type of permanent housing.
3. Another interesting piece of research is HUD’s 37 month update of the Family Options Study. This was an eight year research initiave they characterize as “deep”, landmark”,“rigorous” and “data-driven”. It was done in 12 communitiess nationwide over three years looking only at families but the data showed no substantial difference at both a 20 month and 37 month benchmark.
4. It worked this way – looked three “types” of housing interventions - subsidized housing through vouchers, rapid re-housing and transitional housing. All three were compared to what is known as “usual care”. UC means clients who make their way through the service system without priority access to any intervention being offered.
5. Across five domains “the survey said” J…“rapid re-housing did not lead to improvements in housing stability or meet other outcomes relative to usual care” Other outcomes they call radiating or non-homeless benefits and included in addition to housing stability:
§ Housing stability – length homeless, length ES stays, doubled up
§ Family presevervation – child or partner separation
§ Adult well being – health, AOD, violence and distress
§ Child well being – same but did see impact in behavior problems
§ Self-sufficiency – employment and food security
6. What the study did find is the effectiveness of housing subsidy through PHA’s are the most sustainable programs.
7. A final hot off the press item from HUD is regarding emergency services in the Coordinated Entry design. Newly published CES flow charts do not negate Emergency Shelter or street assistance in whatever form.
8. I take this all to point to the fact that the “type” of emergency assistance (shelters, huts, encampments) is less critical than assurances to the access points to housing opportunties and mainstream benefits. This is good system design coupled with case management.
9. Please be clear I am not saying that Rapid ReHousing, Diversion or Housing Navigation should not be funded. My advocacy is to encourage caution when considering the defunding of one type of service over another and perhaps the dedication of resources to an overall system analysis that looks at these services end to end in the Sonoma County context.