Using PFS to scale supportive housing: lessons learned and new directions

April 25, 2019 - 10:03am

The full version of this post is available at Policies for Action’s P4A Spark blog, where researchers are actively investigating how Pay for Success can be used to address key social determinants of health.

Homelessness is a serious problem in the U.S. A 2018 report (PDF) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that on any given night, over 500,000 people are homeless. Of these, approximately 89,000 are experiencing chronic homelessness.

People experiencing chronic homelessness have high rates of chronic health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, mental health problems, and substance use disorders. As such, people experiencing homelessness are frequent users of paramedic, health care, criminal justice, and other costly public services.

Permanent supportive housing is part of the solution to our country’s homelessness crisis. It is an evidence-based intervention that improves housing stability and reduces the use of public services by providing mental and behavioral health interventions, legal aid, and assistance obtaining social welfare benefits. Housing First is one such model, providing housing without preconditions for sobriety, employment, or other requirements that may hinder a person’s ability to stay in traditional supportive housing environments.

Although there is growing interest in supportive housing programs using Pay for Success (PFS) financing, it can be difficult to get PFS projects off the ground, and many do not progress past the initial feasibility stages.

Read the rest of the post at Policies for Action to learn about the five preconditions that must be met before a project can launch.

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