The role of funders in ending homelessness

We all understand the importance of private funders in supporting the goals of the private sector. That’s why the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission is engaged in preliminary talks with funders who are interested in learning more about what roles private foundations play in other cities. We organized an initial exploratory call with Funders Together to End Homelessness after hearing them speak at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference in August.

Funders Together is a national nonprofit organization that provides technical assistance to local and regional funders who are interested in organizing around the goal of ending homelessness. What we learned in that call is that Nashville is in a great starting place with the Focus Strategies Report, which allows funders to have a starting discussion on the role they could play to implement a systemic approach to move Nashvillians out of homelessness.

The next steps? The Homelessness Commission will continue our conversation with local funders and if there is critical interest, we will help them link with resources available through Funders Together.

2nd quarter 2016

Housing Placements 2nd Quarter 2016

Do you recall when in early 2015, the How’s Nashville leadership group decided to participate in the Zero: 2016 campaign? Consequently, the local community set a goal to house 2,016 people by 2016.

As a community, we wanted to assist 1,421 people who were experiencing chronic homelessness or were literally homeless and extremely vulnerable with permanent supportive housing. In addition, we set a goal to help 595 Veterans obtain permanent housing.

The most recent housing placement data shows… we are within reach of our 2016 by 2016 goal!

To date, the Nashville community through the How’s Nashville initiative has assisted 1,025 people experiencing chronic homelessness and 412 Veterans. In addition, How’s Nashville partners managed to set a new record in May by assisting 88 people experiencing chronic homelessness with housing.

Congratulations, Nashville provider agencies!



What does it mean to end chronic homelessness?

Opening Doors, the federal strategic plan to end homelessness in America, outlines the following goals:

But what does it mean to end homelessness?

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is outlining specific criteria and benchmarks on how to achieve these different goals and what they mean.

Most recently, the USICH released information what ending chronic homelessness means.

Here are the main criteria for achieving an end to chronic homelessness at the local level:

  1. The community has identified and provided outreach to all individuals experiencing or at risk for chronic homelessness, and prevents chronic homelessness whenever possible.
  2. The community provides access to shelter or other temporary accommodations immediately to any person experiencing unsheltered chronic homelessness who wants it.
  3. The community has implemented a community-wide Housing First orientation and response that also considers the preferences of the individuals being served.
  4. The community assists individuals experiencing chronic homelessness to move swiftly into permanent housing with the appropriate level of supportive services and effectively prioritizes people for permanent supportive housing.
  5. The community has resources, plans, and system capacity in place to prevent chronic homelessness from occurring and to ensure that individuals who experienced chronic homelessness do not fall into homelessness again or, if they do, are quickly reconnected to permanent housing.


Hospital to Home_blog

Hospital to Home

The Hospital to Home (H2H) project strives to provide coordinated pathways to permanent supportive housing for some of Nashville/Davidson County’s most medically vulnerable, homeless residents.  The newly assembled H2H Steering Committee, including representatives from 4 local hospitals, 3 federally qualified health centers, and the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission (MHC), met for the first time on March 4, 2016.  Current H2H multi-sector strategic planning efforts addressing housing, care coordination, and data sharing are framed by a collective impact model – particularly suited for complex, systemic problems like improving stable housing placements and medical access and care for some of our most vulnerable neighbors.

Focus Strategies has recently provided technical assistance to MHC and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) producing recommendations on systems re-design – including the creation of a Housing Crisis Resolution System (HCRS).  An HCRS speaks to systems transformation – shifting from a set of homeless services that only ameliorate the immediate crisis of homelessness to a crisis response system that can help prevent and resolve it.  It is anticipated that the establishment of H2H Coordinating Teams at local health care delivery sites (i.e., emergency rooms, hospitals, health clinics) will become a component part of Nashville’s new coordinated entry system – an essential feature of the overall HCRS.


Housing Placement updates for 2016

So far this year, Nashville’s provider community has assisted 278 people experiencing chronic homelessness and 102 Veterans move into their own housing. These numbers seemed to be unachievable three years ago at the launch of the How’s Nashville campaign.

Let’s recap:

Prior to June 2013, the average monthly housing placement hovered around 19 people. Then, in June 2013, our community launched the How’s Nashville campaign with a 100-Day challenge to house 200 people in 100 days. We did miss the target by a few people, but as a community we celebrated the success of housing over 70 people during July and overall managed to double the average monthly housing placement rate.

By 2014, we had reached an average housing placement rate of approximately 45 people per month. At the end of 2015, that number had increased to 59 people a month.

And we have kept it steady ever since. In May of 2016 alone, our partner agencies helped 88 people who struggled with chronic homelessness move into permanent housing. This is a number, we could not have fathomed three years ago.

Thank you Nashville! Thank you to all provider agencies!



Housing First

Housing First is a proven approach to ending homelessness, especially for vulnerably, high-needs populations.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has recently published a Housing First check list that serves as a tool to evaluate whether a particular housing program or a community approach is following the Housing First principles.

In addition, for partners interested in digging a little deeper, Pathways Housing First, one of the nations first Housing First program, has developed a Fidelity_Scale for programs that follow an Assertive-Community-Treatment (ACT) case management model.

As a community that is working on ending homelessness by creating a systemic approach to achieve our goal, we encourage our partner agencies to familiarize themselves with what Housing First truly entails. Information and education is the first step toward understanding our common goal – which is to make homelessness episodes rare, brief and one-time for everyone in Nashville.