Healthcare and Housing Integration:
a Community Collaborative Approach to Reducing Homelessness
Throughout the United States communities are ending homelessness – making it rare, brief and non-recurring. In Erie, Pennsylvania, a growing community-wide emphasis on collaboration is translating to outcomes – decreased homelessness. In Erie County in 2016 the Point-in-Time (PIT) count of homeless individuals decreased by 8.3% from the previous year*.
The Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA), a county-wide homeless social service provider exists to end homelessness in Erie. We are accomplishing that goal by leading community efforts to increase collaborations, data gathering and sharing, developing shared goals and tying activities to them. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a growing cadre of public and private stakeholders provide funding and resources to accomplish this goal, and success will depend on a robust private and public sector aligning resources to shared goals.
EUMA is creating a web of community resources including City and County leadership, public and private healthcare providers, mental health services, homeless service providers, economic development organizations, jails and prisons, police and others. Initial successes include: our work to collect, integrate, share and make decisions based on homeless Veteran data; expanding our data project pilot by increasing the number of service providers both adding and extracting data from the Homeless Management Information System; and implementing a Health Care for the Homeless Partnership program that has allowed medical volunteers to conduct homeless outreach with an emphasis on Holistic Healthcare. This practice has improved health in homeless individuals while developing relationships between homeless individuals and health care and other social service providers.
Communities committed to ending homelessness will recognize that only through the integration of housing and health care services will we reach our goal of making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. While tangible progress has been made, EUMA is well-positioned to provide concrete examples of successes and failures.
*PIT count: a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. PIT Counts: 411 Individuals (2015), 377 Individuals (2016). All data was collected from the Erie County Pennsylvania Homeless Management Information System, 2016.
Information on how HUD funding is moving away from transitional housing:
Information on rapid rehousing:
Information on cost-effectiveness of supportive Housing:
Defining chronic homelessness:
H2 Community Assessment:
Information about Trauma Informed Care:
Information about Harm Reduction:
NHCHC webinar on Harm Reduction:
What you should know about Discharge Planning: