Grantee Spotlight: Family Health Centers, Inc.
Family Health Centers, Inc. of Louisville, KY was awarded a three-year SAMHSA Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI) grant (TI23482) in 2011. It builds upon a previous SAMHSA Treatment for Homeless - Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) grant (TI20498) received in 2008.
Family Health Centers, Inc. of Louisville, KY was awarded a three-year SAMHSA Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI) grant in 2011, building upon a previous SAMHSA Treatment for Homeless - Services in Supportive Housing (SSH) grant (TI20498) received in 2008.
The announcement of the CABHI grant coincided with the planning of the City of Louisville’s involvement in the 100,000 Homes Campaign which identified, assessed, and selected participants for a registry of the city's homeless population, especially the chronic homeless. The registry was developed through the efforts of over 100 volunteers who spent three days surveying and identifying this population.
Family Health Centers, through a clinic in their Health Care for the Homeless Project, Phoenix Health Center, applied for the CABHI grant to develop the Louisville Housing First collaborative. They received notification of the grant award from SAMHSA just as the 100,000 Homes registry week came to a close. With a database identifying more than three hundred people experiencing homelessness and the resources ready to provide housing and services; Phoenix and its partners set out to engage and house those individuals. The most vulnerable individuals to be identified by the 100,000 Homes Campaign were designated as the project’s target participants
The first participant entered housing on January 27, 2012. Since then, the project has assisted seventy-nine chronically homeless individuals in transitioning from the streets and shelters to independent living and anticipates housing many more throughout the life of the grant. The project also has a retention rate of 88 percent and participants have been housed for an average of 209 days. With the help of the SOAR program, participants receiving disability income have increased from 34.3 percent to 45.7 percent. Another successful endeavor is the peer support program that provides participants with one-on-one mentorship. Participants have spoken very favorably about this service and the attendance at the weekly peer support activities group is evidence of its success. Two of the five peer support specialists are participants in Phoenix's original Housing First project (SAMHSA Treatment for Homeless - SSH, 2008) giving them a unique perspective on the needs of participants.
Another distinctive aspect of the Louisville Housing First Cooperative is its collaborative nature. By engaging a number of stakeholders in the community and including them in the planning process, the project has been able to create a large scale Housing First project with a comprehensive array of services. From peer support to disability benefits counseling, participants have access to a number of avenues for pursuing recovery and independent living. The project is also unique from others in the community in that it is intended for Louisville's "most difficult to serve" population. By targeting the chronically homeless with the greatest number of vulnerabilities and implementing a Housing First approach, the project has been able to house and provide recovery services for individuals that have previously experienced years of homelessness.
The Housing First model ensures that participants experience as few barriers to housing as possible. Case managers, peer support specialists, and housing providers assist participants in locating and applying for a desirable housing placement, filling out all necessary paperwork, and moving them into the unit. An ongoing goal of case management is to ensure stability in housing. Case managers often work with landlords and housing provider agencies to assist the participant in any housing issues that may arise. The Louisville Metropolitan Housing Authority recognized the importance of the proposed initiative and allocated seventy HUD Housing Choice Vouchers for providing permanent supportive housing for Collaborative participants. Additionally, the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Community Services and Revitalization and the Louisville Alliance for Supportive Housing committed to providing affordable housing to the target population.
Recovery support is provided by case managers and trained peer support specialists engaging participants in contemplating and pursuing consumer driven recovery options through motivational interviewing. Phoenix’s first foray in employing peer support specialists was the result of its partnership with Wellspring, a leading provider of housing and supported housing options for adults with severe and persistent mental illness dedicated to providing peer support services since the 1990s. Phoenix was able to provide five certified peer support specialists who work one-on-one with project participants on developing housing and recovery goals.
Participants are connected to inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment as well as rehabilitative services. A mental health therapist is employed by the project to provide access to counseling. Slots are reserved for participants at Bridgehaven Mental Health Services, a psychiatric rehabilitation day center, and Jefferson Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center (JADAC), an inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment center. Weekly support groups centered on recovery are held every week.
The project also employs a full-time SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery (SOAR) worker to assist disabled participants with access to income and mainstream benefits including applying for SSI/SSDI, Medicaid, and other entitlement benefits. Case managers provide support and resources for helping clients with finding employment, coaching and job training, food stamps, and health care.
As a Health Care for the Homeless provider, Phoenix Health Center provides individuals in permanent supportive housing with full access to medical, dental, and behavioral health services. Medical and mental health staff routinely provide home visits for participants that wish to be treated in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.
Other partners include the St. Johns Center, Louisville Coalition for the Homeless, the Downtown Development Corporation, University of Louisville Hospital, and the Kentucky Housing Corporation. All have partnered with this initiative to provide support for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. These partnerships have engaged new resources including the Louisville Alliance for Supportive Housing (LASH) that will provide housing vouchers to house up to an additional thirty participants.
The project has gained strong recognition in the community as a recipient of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence’s Pyramid Award of Excellence for the Art of Social Innovation (2012) and a Triple Crown of Excellence Award in Housing from the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Kentucky (2013).
Check out the "Related Items" to the right of the screen.
Type of Resource: