Celebrating Five Years of Supportive Housing Interventions

By: Avalon Housing

This year marked the fifth and final year of Social Innovation Fund (SIF) funding for Avalon’s Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) initiative. We celebrated our accomplishments by convening in DC this month, joined by our healthcare partners from the University of Michigan Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Health Systems.    Avalon Housing was one of four sub-grantees who took part in CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing)’s SIF initiative.  The goal of this initiative was to address the complex issue of rising costs and fragmented care for homeless high utilizers of emergency systems. The initiative piloted supportive housing interventions across four communities – Washtenaw County, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the State of Connecticut. Each year, the four sites have convened and learned from one another, building community and engaging stakeholders along the way. This week we came together for the last time and took stock of what we’ve accomplished:

  • The largest randomized control study of its kind on the intervention of supportive housing for homeless high utilizers of emergency systems
  • Data driven targeting/recruitment and sophisticated data matching across systems
  • Strengthened and diversified local, state, and national partnerships
  • The alignment of housing, quality care management, and health services
  • Engaging policy makers with findings and data that provide the evidence base for supportive housing interventions
  • Sustainability of programming beyond SIF funding

Most importantly, we collectively provided a real exit from homelessness for 710 people. 149 were housed by Avalon, with a 90% housing retention rate! In addition, we provided active case management to those individuals.  Many were wary of services or recipients of poorly coordinated services prior to the intervention. We took charge of the individual’s care, no matter what or when. We developed meaningful rapport with people, recognizing our relationship as the bridge.

This convening served as an important opportunity to honor how much each of our communities have accomplished over these last five years. The depth of qualitative improvements in each person’s life was matched by the breadth of systems change we’ve all leveraged within our communities. Federal partners from a wide range of agencies were in attendance, eager to learn about our data and findings. Avalon, CSH and St. Joseph Mercy Health System staff made visits on Capitol Hill. We shared the success and findings from FUSE with Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, and HUD Appropriations Committee staff.

I was reminded of the names, faces, and stories of those 149 people who’ve shared their lives with us over these past five years as part of this intervention.  Some we’ve lost to complex health conditions, some we’ve watched make incremental progress towards recovery.  Others have stabilized and moved on, and more continue on with us embracing recovery and healing day in and day out. Each of them gained access to whole health outcomes in a way they previously did not, transforming the “Housing is healthcare” tagline into a reality.

By Aubrey Patiño