A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

Partnering Around Social Innovation in Health, Housing, and Homelessness

Can philanthropy help decrease Medicaid spending, lower other public costs, and improve the health and lives of our most-vulnerable neighbors? The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) believes it can- and the solution is connecting health and housing.

Can philanthropy help decrease Medicaid spending, lower other public costs, and improve the health and lives of our most-vulnerable neighbors? The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) believes it can- and the solution is connecting health and housing.

We know there is a small subset of individuals who cycle between emergency rooms, hospitals, detox, and other crisis health services. Known as the 5:50 population (because they are the 5% of beneficiaries who represent 50% of total costs), these men and women have complex, co-occurring health conditions; limited support networks, and experience homelessness or persistent housing challenges. In a year, communities spend upwards of $60,000 per person in public resources on “Band-Aid” services that treat a patient’s symptoms without improving overall health status, since they fail to address the underlying problems that lead to poor health. But there is progress in reversing this phenomenon and communities are working to better initiate and integrate solutions that improve health, improve quality of life, and save public resources.

Examining the Intersection of Health, Housing, & Homelessness

Last week, CSH along with Funders Together to End Homelessness, Grantmakers in Health, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations co-presented a webinar-_Health, Housing & Homelessness_- that helped participating funders examine the intersection between health and housing. We discussed the many different ways grantmakers can become involved in this movement, including:

  • Fund initiatives that focus on the intersection between health and housing;
  • Support local housing and service providers, increasing their capacity to align their programs and connect to health systems; and
  • Take a leadership role in convening government and nonprofits, encouraging collaboration and dialogue between health and housing systems.

CSH is tackling all three of the above using the $2.3 million Social Innovation Fund grant we received from the Corporation for National and Community Service. CSH is targeting the highest-need people by developing cutting-edge models that build new kinds of partnerships between supportive housing providers and health services. The initiative will leverage the original Social Innovation Fund grant as well as a dollar-for-dollar match raised by CSH and an additional match raised by sub-grantees in four sites. This combination of public and private resources will launch and assess pilot programs that link supportive housing with care management and health services with the goal of creating an integrated model that improve lives while saving public funds.

CSH is looking for partners who are also excited about this new direction. Support has already been secured from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust. An open RFP process is currently underway to select the four sites around the country that will pilot these programs (sites will be announced March 1, 2012). There will be both national and local opportunities to support this initiative.

To learn more about the intersection of health, housing, and homeless and the Social Innovation Fund, check out the webinar audio recording and the presentation materials. You can also read more about CSH’s Social Innovation Fund.

Nancy McGraw is the Chief Development Officer at the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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