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Project 25: "Frequent User Initiative" for Chronically Homeless

San Diego’s "Home Again"’ Announces First "Frequent User Initiative" for Chronically Homeless

Request for Proposal Seeks Qualified NonProfits to Provide Homes, Supportive Services To 25 of the County’s Chronically Homeless

SAN DIEGO (August 18, 2010) Home Again, the public engagement campaign to end chronic homelessness in San Diego County, has announced the launch of “Project 25,” the Home Again Frequent User Initiative. The program is the first of its kind in the county. The initiative will provide permanent housing and supportive services to at least 25 of San Diego County’s chronically homeless, who are some of the most frequent users of public resources, including legal, medical and emergency services.

“Project 25” is a historic opportunity for San Diego’s efforts to end chronic homelessness, while making a significant positive impact on the individuals housed and the community at large,” said Home Again Commissioner Brian Maienschein.  “This program is the first ever collaboration of its kind between the City and County, and also has unprecedented cooperation between agencies at the City, County and in the non-profit sector,” said Maienschein.

 “The taxpayer money saved by providing the homeless with permanent housing and supportive services is substantial and will provide vital economic research that will fundamentally change the way homeless services work throughout San Diego County.” Maienschein further stated.

Facilitated by the United Way of San Diego County (UWSD), Home Again has issued a Request for Proposal seeking qualified nonprofit organizations to submit proposals to implement the Frequent User Initiative. The initiative, based on the proven “Housing First” model, will provide permanent housing and case management with supportive services, as well as a comprehensive discharge plan.

In addition to significantly and positively affecting the lives of these individuals, housing the homeless saves taxpayers a lot of money. The initiative will include the first comprehensive data collection for San Diego’s frequent users, determining the total cost of services used by each person, before and after entering into the program. The three-year pilot program will track taxpayer savings on a quarterly basis.

Currently, the chronically homeless represent 14 percent of the overall homeless population in San Diego County, but they use 50 percent of available public resources, including shelters, emergency medical and law enforcement services, mental health support and detox services. One local study, found that 15 homeless San Diegans consumed $1.5 million in medical services alone over 1.5 years, totaling nearly $100,000 per person. In comparison, Housing First has led to a 43 percent savings for taxpayers in Los Angeles, and in Portland, the cost per person for supportive services plus housing is only $26,000. 

“Project 25” is the first partnership of its kind between the City of San Diego, San Diego County and the United Way. Each has a vested interest in ending chronic homelessness, while at the same time, saving taxpayers’ money. The City, County and United Way will work together to provide the selected organization(s) with the vital programs, services and funding needed to support a successful initiative.

The initiative also represents a collaboration among multiple organizations that have agreed to share pertinent information toward identifying and serving San Diego’s most frequent homeless users. The organizations will share information to improve coordinated services, outcome measurements, efficacy of services, intervention trends/ strategies, housing opportunities and medical home development. Participants include: Alpha Project, County of San Diego District Attorney, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Family Health Centers of San Diego, Father Joe’s Villages, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Rescue Mission and the UC San Diego Medical Center.

The Frequent User Initiative RFP [link] is currently available on the Home Again website: http://www.homeagainsd.org and is due by October 4, 2010. Home Again plans to select a winner by October 25, 2010 and begin program implementation by December 24, 2010.

* The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. There are 1,600 chronically homeless people throughout our region.

About Home Again

Home Again is the public engagement campaign to end chronic homelessness in San Diego County, facilitated by United Way of San Diego County. The chronically homeless are defined as people who are continuously homeless for one year or without shelter four or more times in the past three years. They often have some sort of disability. Although the chronically homeless are a minority of the overall homeless population, they drain significant resources – including legal, medical and emergency services – at a high cost to our community.

Home Again is based on the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness (PTECH) and “Housing First” models that have been successful in cities nationwide. The program advocates providing affordable housing integrated with supportive services to help move – and keep – the chronically homeless off the streets and into stable living and working situations. The funding Home Again is raising will be spent on additional permanent supportive housing and services for the chronically homeless throughout San Diego County. For more information, visit http://www.homeagainsd.org.

About United Way of San Diego County

United Way of San Diego County is a nonprofit organization that improves lives and creates lasting change by raising money and mobilizing the community to solve education, income and health issues. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. To learn more about the United Way or to donate, visit http://www.uwsd.org.

 

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