Pay for success and housing

January 19, 2018 - 4:13pm

In an era of tight federal budgets, pay for success has emerged as a potential financing option for states and local governments to address not only the challenge of finding housing for the homelessness, but the underlying issues that drive chronic homelessness in particular. Permanent supportive housing programs, which combine affordable housing with health interventions, counseling, and skills-building, are based on the Housing First model, which promotes the idea that obtaining safe, stable housing without preconditions or other barriers to entry is a critical jumping-off point for homeless people to access future opportunities in life.

Recognizing this potential, housing advocates, policymakers, governments, and investors across the country have partnered to launch eight pay for success projects that provide housing with other supports as an intervention. They primarily target the chronically homeless, who disproportionately utilize government resources such as emergency room visits.  

What makes permanent supportive housing projects such strong candidates for PFS projects?

  • The intervention is evidence-based
  • There are high moral and financial costs associated with homelessness
  • It offers a way to bridge budget divisions. Services provided by public housing authorities for traditional rental and homelessness assistance not only improve housing insecurity outcomes, but also benefit public systems such as health care, education, and child welfare.

Current Pay for Success Projects that Provide Housing as an Intervention