Partnership for Strong Communities’ (PSC) last IForum of the year focused on creative financing to end homelessness, including conversations about advancing the use of Medicaid to fund support services and the announcement of a new grant from United Health Foundation to help promote the network of Community Care Teams in Connecticut. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy lauded United Health Foundation for providing the grant funds and restated his administration’s continued commitment to providing resources for ending homelessness and expanding housing options in Connecticut. That commitment was demonstrated throughout the IForum, which featured officials from several state agencies engaging with non-profit partners in a discussion regarding how the state can expand access to Medicaid to help fund support services and tenancy supports in supportive housing.
The event kicked off with a welcome by Alicia Woodsby, PSC’s executive director, who highlighted the recurring themes of the day, including the need to explore funding opportunities from various sources, to think creatively about how to use funds, and to develop and use data effectively. Betsy Branch, Associate Director of CSH New England, provided an overview of supportive housing (affordable housing + support services to help maintain tenancy) and its cost effectiveness in ending homelessness and reducing the use of expensive emergency services. Keynote speaker Kevin Martone of Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) delivered a presentation focused on the national landscape pertaining to the use of Medicaid as a tool to provide support services and tenancy supports in supportive housing.
Following the keynote, Martone joined a group conversation focused on how the state of Connecticut can advance its efforts to use Medicaid to help fund services in supportive housing across a variety of populations, including those experiencing homelessness. Moderated by Tekisha Everette of Health Equity Solutions, those on the stage for that conversation also included:
- Kate McEvoy, Esq., Director, Division of Health Services, CT Department of Social Services
- Judy Dowd, Health and Human Services Section Director, CT Office of Policy & Management
- Steve DiLella, Director of Individual & Family Support Program Unit, CT Department of Housing
- Alice Minervino, Behavioral Health Program Manager, CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
- Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities
- Kevin Martone, Executive Director, Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.
The members of the group discussed the policy priorities and existing efforts that have led Connecticut to advance the work on Medicaid and also took questions from the audience. Issues discussed included how various projects currently underway related to homelessness and how Medicaid fit into this discussion, how service providers may be impacted by a switch to Medicaid funding for services, and how different constituencies will be engaged on this issue moving forward.
The group discussion was followed by the announcement of a grant from United Health Foundation (UHF), featuring comments from Governor Malloy, UnitedHealthcare of New England CEO Steve Farrell, United Health Foundation Board Member Tina Brown Stevenson, and Middlesex Hospital’s Terri DiPietro. United Health Foundation is providing the grant to the Partnership for Strong Communities to expand work being done through the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative. In cooperation with the Connecticut Hospital Association and with support from the Connecticut Health Foundation, the Hospital Initiative began in 2014 with four Community Care Teams (CCTs) operating in five hospitals across Connecticut aiming to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with primary health care options, housing and other services. Through UHF’s support, the Initiative will expand its CCT network by partnering with five additional hospitals by the end of 2017, develop a learning collaborative and online hub of resources and conduct an analysis of the program.
- Betsy Branch (CSH) presentation
- Kevin Martone (TAC) presentation
- Kate McEvoy (CT DSS) presentation to Medicaid Assistance Program Oversight Council
- United Health Foundation handout on Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Bulletin on Housing-Related Activities
- Hartford Courant - Interview and Article