Presentation on theme: "Overdue for Change The Transformation of Homeless Housing and Services Needed in Westchester."— Presentation transcript:
Overdue for Change The Transformation of Homeless Housing and Services Needed in Westchester
Crises Bring Radical Change Evolution lurches ahead when crises happen Our current budget crisis will force an evolutionary “lurch” in homeless programs Most of our homeless housing and services use models developed in the 1980s Few will exist in their current form by 2015 Programs have two choices: evolve or die
The Central Assumption You cannot be “Housing-Ready” until you are “Treatment-Ready.”
The Central Assumption Made Sense During the 1980s Most local shelters were invented in the early 1980s during the height of massive deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and the sudden onset of the crack epidemic
System Change #1: We need fewer transitional shelter beds
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds Biggest shelter cost is 24/7 monitoring 19 beds = 10 FTEs for 24/7 monitoring You don’t need 24/7 monitoring just because you fell behind on your rent Reason #1: They are too expensive.
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds Reason #2: The # of homeless people in Westchester is at record lows.
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds Reason #3: We have more access to housing subsidies.
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds Reason #4: We don’t need to “fix” every problem before we rehouse someone.
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds Reason #5: Treatment readiness does not have to precede housing readiness.
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds Providing 24/7 monitoring makes substance use MORE problematic ANY substance use is intolerable in supervised shelters But only extreme or disruptive substance use prevents retention of private housing Reason #6: Sometimes shelters are not a pipeline to housing, but a barrier to it.
Why We Need Fewer Shelter Beds HEARTH goal: rehousing in 30 days The more long-term transitional shelter beds we have, the more points we’ll eventually lose Reason #7: HUD no longer values them.
System Change #2: We need to invent Fast Track shelters.
Housing Stabilization Services Brief and time-limited Goal-oriented Establish key linkages Teach core competencies (budgeting, life skills, etc.)
Who Needs Fast Track Housing? People recently evicted solely for non-payment of rent People with a history of successful independent living People who will not refrain from drug or alcohol use but who are non-violent and unlikely to disrupt the neighborhood People in early stages of mental health engagement who are too afraid to stay in a congregate shelter People who are too emotionally volatile to safely remain in a congregate shelter People unwilling to turn over income for congregate shelter who would be willing to contribute to the cost of private transitional or permanent housing
System Change #3: We need centralized countywide or regional housing search and placement.
System Change #4: We need to change shelter funding mechanisms to reward rapid rehousing.
System Change #5: We need to create a more complete continuum of housing retention services.
Continuum of Housing Retention Services Needed No major mental health or substance abuse issues Eviction Prevention Network Other mentally ill or substance abusing people “Housing Crisis Response Teams” Selected substance abusers“Recovery buddies” Severely mentally ill Care Coordinators (ICM, SCM, ACT, etc.) Target PopulationType of Service
Where will people find housing? Units open up with every eviction More HUD housing subsidies are available DSS now offers rent supplements for formerly homeless DSS now allows shared housing without penalties We need to upgrade substandard housing
System Change #6: We need to link housing search and eviction prevention programs. (Every eviction = a rehousing opportunity.)
System Change #7: We need to re-establish use of the Spiegel Act, but this time do it with the cities.
How to Use The Spiegel Act The Spiegel Act allows DSS to withhold rents from substandard units until upgraded DSS should partner with cities to identify 1-3 most substandard buildings in each city DSS should withhold rent City should impose fines for building and fire violations plus penalties for back taxes County, city and/or a CBO should offer HOME loans for building improvement
System Change #8: We need to expand our continuum of housing programs, looking at both housing readiness and treatment readiness.
The New Housing Paradigm: Distinguishing Treatment Readiness from Housing Readiness
THE KEY QUESTION: Not “Will You Completely Abstain From All Alcohol, Drugs and Sex?” But “Do You Need Expensive 24-Hour Monitoring?”