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New Initiative to End Chronic Homelessness Achieves Strong Preliminary Results
GREENSBORO, N.C. (September 9, 2014) — Partners Ending Homelessness, a United Way partner agency, today unveiled the preliminary results of its “Housing First” initiative to end chronic homelessness in Guilford County within five years. Since launching seven months ago, the program has reduced chronic homelessness in Guilford County by providing access to stable housing to 28 formerly homeless households. At the last pointin-time count, there were 107 cases of chronic homelessness in Guilford County. Partners Ending Homelessness projects the “Housing First” initiative will decrease that number by 15-20% by the next point-in-time count in January 2015.
“We are extremely pleased with the early results of the program,” said Darryl Kosciak, executive director of Partners Ending Homelessness. “The lives of these individuals have dramatically improved through stable housing and supportive services. As we look to expand the program and replicate these results, we will need the full community to stand with us.”
Phillips Foundation provided a $1 million grant in 2013 to launch this initiative. Those resources allowed Partners Ending Homelessness to hire an international consultant, build out their staff and program, and systematically identify vulnerable individuals who had the most urgent needs.
Salvation Army of Greensboro manages the housing portion of the program, and Psychotherapeutic Services, Inc. has developed an Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) for long-term housing support and case management. ACTT is the highest level of mental health service available short of hospitalization. With these teams now in place and working together, the program is ready to scale.
“We saw this partnership as an opportunity for philanthropic dollars to really solve something,” said Elizabeth Phillips, executive director of Phillips Foundation. “We are bringing a national best practice to our Continuum of Care so that ending chronic homelessness in our county is now within reach. The positive impact of our strategic investment in these first months is tangible, and we hope these initial results serve as an incentive for the rest of the community to join us in this effort.”
The program puts an emphasis on housing individuals first, then providing each client with wraparound services to address their specific needs. This model is proven to be effective in keeping individuals off the streets long-term, while also saving taxpayer dollars on emergency services frequently provided to chronically homeless individuals when they are not housed. According to Partners Ending Homelessness’ initial data of the first group of five clients that entered housing, $30,650 was spent on 475 shelter nights the year before these individuals were housed. The initiative has spent a total of $8,927 on housing these same individuals during the first six months of the program.
“We’re not only helping people, but we’re significantly reducing emergency room visits, police calls, court costs and shelter stays,” said Kosciak. “In the year before housing, the initial group spent a total of 28 nights in jail, at an approximate cost of over $2000. Since being housed, these individuals haven’t spent a single night in jail.”
In addition to the $1 million grant from Phillips Foundation, Partners Ending Homelessness needs to secure an estimated $2.5 million over the next four years from public and private sources to expand the program in order to serve every chronically homeless individual in Guilford County.
“Our core focus at the United Way is to empower individuals to stand on their own,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, President & CEO of the United Way of Greater Greensboro. “That is exactly what this program is doing for the chronically homeless, and it’s only just getting started. We’re confident that with the proper resources and partners working together, we can completely eradicate chronic homelessness in our community.”
About Phillips Foundation
In 2005, local business leader Kermit Phillips created the Kermit G. Phillips II Charitable Trust to provide funding to non-profit causes as elected by the Phillips family. The trust’s endowment recently gained the majority of its funding and now operates as the Phillips Foundation. The current board is regionally focused on the Greensboro community with five target areas: housing and homelessness; economic development; arts and culture; child and family services; and education and learning enrichment. For more information, visit PhillipsFoundationNC.org.
Phillips Foundation does not currently accept unsolicited grant applications.
About Partners Ending Homelessness
Partners Ending Homelessness is a United Way partner agency that leads a strong, collaborative network that includes over 80 community partners working together to effectively address individual and family homelessness through the system of care in Guilford County.
About United Way of Greater Greensboro
United Way of Greater Greensboro pools resources, time and talent to support programs, initiatives, and partner agencies meeting the critical needs of our community and offer a high quality of life for all. United Way is a worldwide network in 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. To give, advocate and volunteer, visit UnitedWayGSO.org.