Governors are in a unique position to streamline safety net efforts by strengthening cross-system collaboration to serve vulnerable populations. There are incredible opportunities for state and local partners to create cross-jurisdictional relationships to provide unified fronts on certain issues—such as homelessness and housing instability—that are tailored to meet the unique needs of their communities. Addressing the housing needs of low-income families is an opportunity for governors to lead the way in identifying innovations in public service with federal, county, local, and private sector partners. Supportive housing is an evidence-based solution that pairs subsidized housing with coordinated support services to stabilize the most vulnerable. This model has demonstrated reductions in use of shelter, and child welfare and criminal justice system involvement, and other safety net services. Drawing on insights from a convening of gubernatorial policy advisors, Addressing Housing Instability Through Systems Alignment and Coordination is a brief from CSH and NGA that highlights examples from some of the many states that are turning to data-driven supportive housing models that embrace systems alignment, coordination and partnerships to address housing instability.
Returning Home: Successful Reentry and reintegration
— Aligning Corrections + Mental Health + Housing
— Using Prerelease Data for Postrelease Support
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) implemented a reentry-supportive housing model called “Returning Home Ohio” (RHO) to provide intensive prerelease coordination and postrelease housing and services to people the state has identified as “at risk of homelessness upon release” and as having a substance use, mental health or serious behavioral health disorder.
A rigorous evaluation found that participants were 60 percent less likely to be reincarcerated and 40 percent less likely to be rearrested for any crime. They also received 290 percent more mental health and substance abuse service days than the comparison group. Furthermore, a cost study found that RHO participation resulted in lower criminal justice system costs.6 Since the program’s inception in 2006, ODRC has invested more than $5 million to provide rental subsidies, tenant assistance, support services, evaluation and project management.
Frequent Users Systems Engagement: Ending the Crisis Systems cycle
— Aligning Corrections + Courts + Health Care + Housing
— Identifying Frequent Utilizers Through Cross-Agency Data Matching
Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) is a model in which communities use extensive data to identify and engage high utilizers of public systems and place them in supportive housing to break the cycle of their repeated use of costly crisis services such as emergency departments, shelters and the criminal justice system.7 Through partnerships among local corrections, hospitals, courts and housing agencies, 35 communities across the country are providing supportive housing to their top system utilizers—and lowering costs in the process.
Keeping Families Together
— Aligning Goals Across Child Welfare + Housing
— Matching Child Welfare Data + Housing Need
Keeping Families Together (KFT) supportive housing is a model that offers families with children who are at risk of recurring involvement in the child welfare system a stable, safe home environment so that they can move forward as a family unit, which evidence shows is preferable to parent-child separation. Currently active in seven states, KFT provides access to affordable housing and essential support that helps every member of the family. This model is reuniting children with their parents, reducing unnecessary foster care placements and lowering costs.
Governors Play a Critical role in helping low-income families stay house
Housing security is a key component of families’ economic stability. Addressing the housing needs of low-income families is an opportunity for governors to demonstrate compassion and leadership while partnering with federal, state, county, local and private sector partners to identify innovations in public service. Supportive housing is a proven intervention that pairs subsidized housing with coordinated support services, and opportunities exist for state leadership to create cross-jurisdictional relationships to provide unified fronts on certain issues.