Behavioral Health and Homelessness

Behavioral Health & Homelessness Projects

Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Services

In Bernalillo County, a series of high-profile behavioral health-related challenges led to an allocated $17 million per year for the county to spend on providing high-risk populations with targeted behavioral health services. The GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help the county develop a strategic procurement system to most effectively spend the newly allocated dollars, which included identifying behavioral health service needs, best practices, and priority populations as well as developing and implementing a problem-based procurement template that minimized prescriptiveness and focused on specific outcomes. The County’s first initiative will provide over 10,000 children with a variety of behavioral health interventions that aim to prevent adverse childhood experiences. Since then, the county has continued to expand its behavioral health service array through the new procurement framework, providing new youth transitional living services, community engagement teams, and mobile crisis teams.

Denver Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success

Denver sought to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with permanent alternatives to costly emergency services such as hospitals and shelters. As part of the Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success initiative, the GPL helped Denver identify the most costly chronically homeless individuals who were also involved with the criminal justice system as candidates for supportive housing. With its project partners, the City is building 160 new units and using 90 existing units to house these individuals and testing the results with a five-year randomized control trial. The evaluation of the program will be one of the longest and most rigorous studies of supportive housing in the country.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Performance Improvement

Between 2011 and 2017, homelessness in Los Angeles had increased 75% to an estimated 55,000. To combat this epidemic, voters in the region passed Measure H and Proposition HHH, which will provide $1.2 billion in bond revenue for new housing for the homeless and $355 million annually in sales tax revenue for homeless services such as diversion/prevention, interim housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing.

 

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is an independent joint powers authority whose role is to coordinate the use of federal and local funding for homeless services across Los Angeles County. Measure H and Proposition HHH brought a large influx of resources to an agency that already managed over $243 million annually in federal, state, county, and city funds. The increase in resources highlighted the urgency for accountability and demonstrable progress in ending homelessness in Los Angeles. 

 

To help them accomplish this goal, GPL helped LAHSA set up a performance management system called Active Contract Management (ACM) that allows LAHSA to engage in high frequency reviews of performance and outcomes data with providers, and work collaboratively to improve results.

Massachusetts Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success

In 2012, Massachusetts was home to 1,200 chronically homeless individuals, who were among the highest utilizers of expensive emergency services such as shelter, hospital, and jail beds. To better serve this population, the Massachusetts Supportive Housing Pay for Success project aimed to shift spending on homelessness away from temporary shelters towards permanent supportive housing. The GPL worked with project partners to remove funding barriers, allowing for the establishment of 500 housing units across the state and greater access to wraparound, community-based services for the chronically homeless.

Seattle, WA Homeless Service Contracts

Although the number of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle has risen over the past few years in part due to structural factors such as housing affordability and inadequate mental healthcare, the city’s increased spending on homeless services has had a limited impact on the problem. The city of Seattle held a conglomeration of contracts with service providers, but it renewed almost any contract that complied with requirements and rarely evaluated the effectiveness of the services themselves. The GPL worked with Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) to consolidate its contracts, allowing staff to shift their focus from compliance to performance. After consolidating these contracts, HSD held its first competitive procurement for homeless services in over a decade. This project has allowed HSD to reevaluate its spending on homeless services and fund the programs with the highest impact.

Chicago, IL Homelessness Services Performance Improvement

 

Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has been working to improve performance outcomes achieved by the shelter system, including addressing low exit rates into permanent housing, long lengths of homelessness, and a rising unsheltered population. To assist these efforts, the GPL:

  1. Assessed the current shelter system through site visits and analysis of historical performance data, and
  2. Executed $19 million in results-driven RFPs for the Department's shelter portfolio to reflect an updated understanding of the system's spectrum of services and emphasizing program goals,
  3. Is working to implement active contract management for all shelter providers with the goals of adjusting service offerings to better meet the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness and to reduce lengths of stay before transitions to permanent housing.

 

 

Massachusetts Shelter Contract Performance Improvement

Massachusetts’ family shelter system has struggled to meet its mandate of quickly re-housing homeless families, with over 40% of families staying in shelter longer than one year. To improve outcomes for this population, the GPL helped Massachusetts better understand the state of the current shelter system by analyzing contract spending and interviewing stakeholders, including shelters providers and families who have used the system, and helped release a Request for Information to identify current challenges and brainstorm solutions for system improvement. The GPL is now working with the state to use this information to help Massachusetts reprocure its $155 million family shelter system, which serves roughly 12,000 people in families with children each year, to focus on outcomes and prepare for active contract management.

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