United Way of Metro Atlanta
United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (UWMA): UWMA, a 107-year-old grantmaking intermediary is seeking a $1 million, five-year Geographically-Based SIF grant focusing on Healthy Futures and Economic Opportunity. Through an open, competitive process, we will award subgrants to 5-7 nonprofits to provide supportive housing for the chronically homeless in a 13-county service area of Atlanta, Georgia by replicating two evidence-based rapid rehousing strategies: (1) Street to Home and (2) Hospital to Home. Removing the barrier of homelessness will allow these individuals to focus on targeted treatment or services to address other issues (e.g., mental disorders, substance abuse, health issues, employment), improving their long-term health outcomes, and increasing their economic opportunities to maintain long-term housing stability and economic well-being. PROJECT OVERVIEW: The chronically homeless (e.g., homeless for more than a year, or have experienced homelessness four or more times within three years), represent an estimated 17-20% of the homeless population nationally, but consume more than 50% of service and support funds, as they cycle through bouts of homelessness and costly stays in institutional care including hospitals and jails (HRI, 2012). Historically, federal, state, and other service agencies have responded to homelessness with a "treatment first" approach requiring mandatory program participation (e.g., substance abuse rehabilitation, mental health treatment) as a precondition for transitional and permanent housing attainment. This approach is very ineffective for the chronically homeless as it relies upon managing a diagnosed problem instead of providing a comprehensive and permanent solution. In 1992, a New York based nonprofit, Pathways to Housing, originated the "Housing First" model, providing the chronically homeless with immediate access to permanent, independent housing regardless of their conditions or participation in optional supportive or treatment programs. Long-term studies show this approach has a success rate nearly double that of treatment first approaches (Pearson, et. al., 2009). In 2007, UWMA's Regional Commission on Homelessness, a unique public-private partnership of private foundations, the public sector, business community, and nonprofit service providers, launched two new approaches, based on Housing First, to provide permanent housing solutions for the high population of low-income, chronically homeless individuals in our region: (1) Street to Home and (2) Hospital to Home. To date, these programs have served over 1,400 chronically homeless individuals, 75% of whom have remained in permanent, supportive housing with 27% graduating from supportive to independent housing or reunited with family or other support networks. Costing just $8,000 per client per year, these programs have yielded tremendous cost savings through decreased hospitalizations, incarcerations, and other related costs (UWMA, Sept. 2011). Successful replication will generate significant, measurable improvements in economic opportunities as well as promote healthy futures (2012 SIF Priority), increasing the number of homeless who remain in permanent housing, while exhibiting reductions in substance abuse/addiction, mental health symptoms or status, and increases in improved physical health and economic well-being through job training and employment. ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY: UWMA is one of largest United Way organizations in the United States with a 2012 operating budget exceeding $67 million that supports over 400 nonprofit programs including $15.2 million awarded in competitive grants (UWMA, 2011). UWMA has secured $500,000 (50%) of its required SIF funding match from The Kendeda Fund. Our SIF subgrantees will receive technical assistance to grow their service delivery model and support in partnership building, resource development, and long-term program sustainability. Our evaluation team, comprised of program evaluators from The Evaluation Group and Georgia State University, will provide UWMA and subgrantees with technical assistance on the design, implementation, and monitoring to document increases in their evidence base, capacity, and scale in terms of leadership, adaptability, management, and operational capacity over time.