John and Katana moved into housing with a Housing Choice Voucher after John was prioritized in the local Coordinated Entry system. John faces terminal cancer and his hospital visits have significantly decreased since the couple obtained housing.
James and Marla, Housing First Initiative Director, schedule Marla’s next home visit to celebrate his 60th birthday. When Brown decided to work toward obtaining housing, he started using a planner to keep track of goals and appointments.
Timely updates of the 10-Year Plan outline our current collective efforts and evidence-based approaches to strengthen our local system to end homelessness in Fort Collins.
Strategic Updates of the 10-Year Plan
The 2018-2020 update of the 10-Year Plan broadly outlined community-wide strategies and activities the Homeward 2020 Director, multi-sector stakeholders, work groups, and the Homeward 2020 Community Collaborative focused on:
- Data development and reporting to improve understanding and outcomes.
- Efficient and effective housing and support solutions.
- Building capacity and planning for a sustainable, responsive system.
Specific capacity building projects and new program development also focused on ending long-term homelessness for our community’s most vulnerable. To achieve this, we catalyzed key ‘evidence-to-action’ community projects from proven evidence-based models:
- Housing First & and the Housing First Initiative;
- Frequent Utilizer System Engagement & the Fort Collins FUSE Initiative; and
- Bonding the nexus between Housing and Health by deepening connections and sharing outcomes across these social sectors.
The Housing First approach focuses on ending homelessness by providing safe, stable housing solutions as the first priority for people experiencing homelessness, strengthened with individualized supportive services. Housing First is an approach that ends both an individual and a community’s experience with homelessness by investing in diverse housing solutions and flexible, responsive services in the community.
Once housed, and out of day-to-day crisis and survival mode, we can learn much more about a person’s strengths, needs, goals and challenges, and can then help provide more effective services and support. Once housed, individualized supportive community services like healthcare, recovery from trauma, or employment searches can then be effectively provided to help people achieve stability and work toward their personal goals.
Housing First programs across the nation share critical elements:
- A focus on helping individuals and families access permanent housing as quickly as possible;
- A variety of client-driven, flexible supportive services—such as access to medical care, counseling, job training or employment services, and basic life skills—to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis; and
- Access to housing and housing-focused services without preconditions, including sobriety, employment, or adequate credit or financial history.
FUSE - Frequent Utilizer System Engagement
Fort Collins, and many communities, are striving to better serve “frequent utilizer” and chronically homeless populations. There is no set definition of a frequent utilizer (also known as high utilizers or super utilizers) but for the purposes of this project they are unhoused patients with poorly managed chronic and behavioral health illnesses, lack of housing access and social supports, and frequent users of hospital emergency rooms, 911 and crisis responders, emergency shelters, jails and courts. Because needed healthcare and housing interventions are uncoordinated, these patients have a clear impact on publicly funded systems not intended to provide ongoing, comprehensive health, housing and crisis support.
FUSE is designed to identify, prioritize and stabilize frequent users among the housing, health and justice sectors through data sharing and supportive housing. Evidence-based, best practices are and require investment in targeted interventions across sectors.