The Partnership for Strong Communities hosted its first IForum of the 2021 IForum Series on March 30th - Innovation and Success in Homelessness Prevention: What’s Happening Now and What’s Next? This IForum was held virtually, with over 130 people participating via Zoom, and the event was broadcasted live on our social media platforms.
The event began with a national overview of homeless prevention efforts by our keynote speaker Sharon McDonald, Senior Fellow for Children & Families, at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Sharon provided some key recommendations on homelessness prevention and interventions and discussed that these efforts should be informed by what we know from national research and data but also grounded in local data, including perspective and insights of those with lived experience of homelessness.
Followed by a panel conversation on Connecticut’s homelessness prevention initiatives with experts from the Judicial Branch Court Support Service Division (JBCSSD), the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Greater Waterbury Health Network, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Speakers shared an overview of the following initiatives:
- CSSH presented on a recently developed Housing Survey incorporated into the JBCSSD’s case management system to identify homelessness and housing instability in the criminal justice system. This tool is being used to collect data related to housing status and provide action steps for staff working with individuals who identify housing as a resource need. CSSD is currently working with Reaching Home Campaign partners to create a process for sharing the aggregated data.
- Coalition for Juvenile Justice provided an overview of the Collaboration for Change, a cross-system effort in the Stamford area to improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system who are homeless or housing insecure.
- Greater Waterbury Health Network- a cross-sector collaborative of partners in the health system, highlighted their work to collect housing status upon entry into their system of care and linking it to the Community Care Teams and Federally Qualified Healthcare system. As part of this effort, they were able to reduce hospital utilization by 45 percent in the first six months of implementation and saved over $1 million in hospital costs.
- DCF highlighted the Family First Prevention Services Act, a recently federally funded program in the state of CT, designed to prevent high-risk youth from entering foster care, and noted that the Department plans to submit its plan to the federal government the first week of May 2021.
Key themes highlighted from this IForum included leveraging current resources and cross-system collaboration and partnership to propel this work forward and utilizing data to foster linkages amongst organizations and to identify where the system is working and where it is not. It also confirmed that having a coordinated system of care can help agencies prioritize care and housing need for populations most at risk.
The IForum provided us with an eye on partnership opportunities that shift services upstream to reach more people preventively that can better match services to need – receiving the right services –improving the client experience – improving outcomes, and expanding knowledge of where the gaps are in our system.
Click here to view a recording of the event. The presentation and event materials are listed below.