Providence partners with Community Solutions to end homelessness

August 20, 2021 Providence Health Team

homeless

In this article:

  • Providence entered a system-wide strategic partnership with Community Solutions in March 2021.

  • Built For Zero initiative will be implemented throughout communities in Texas, Oregon and Washington.

  • Built for Zero relies on community collaboration and use of quality data that tracks people by name, allowing communities to triage the unique needs of individuals experiencing homelessness.

[3 MIN READ]

In April, the nonprofit organization Community Solutions was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation 100&Change grant for Built for Zero, their initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness. The $100 million grant will help accelerate the impact of this ground-breaking movement that uses data to change how homeless response systems work in communities over the next 5 years.

Providence has seen how it works up close. For several years, Providence Alaska Medical Center has been a major supporter and funder of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness and has partnered with Community Solutions on the Anchorage community plan to address homelessness. Community Solutions’ Built for Zero model has proven so successful in Alaska that Providence entered a system-wide strategic partnership with Community Solutions in March 2021, with the goal to expand Built for Zero across communities in our footprint.

Providence recognizes that stable housing is a driver of health and well-being. The vast majority of our communities identified housing as a priority need through the Community Health Needs Assessment. This work, along with the system’s Housing is Health Initiative, is one way our teams are working with communities to address this fundamental issue through our Community Health Improvement Plans, and alongside local city, county, and non-profit partners.

What makes Built for Zero unique?

Community Solutions launched Built For Zero in 2015, at first a small network of cities and counties that shared a commitment to end homelessness in their areas. After seeing how well the model worked, more communities joined the movement. Now 80 U.S. communities are participating in Built For Zero with the goal of ending either chronic homelessness, veteran homelessness, or both.

The methodology behind Built for Zero is community collaboration and the use of quality data that tracks people by name, allowing communities to triage individual needs. Built For Zero ensures there are data standards that all community partners agree to, and a shared database that helps understand how an individual is interacting with the system.

Communities can monitor how many people are experiencing homelessness and how that number changes on a monthly basis. With this information, communities have a better understanding of how many people became homeless and how many people were able to enter housing. As an example, the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness publishes their dashboard on a monthly basis to monitor change over time.

“This is really a way to streamline and make sure that through city, county and social response agencies that the right parts of the system are coordinating with that individual to help them transition out of homelessness,” says Megan McAninch Jones, Executive Director of Community Investment Strategy & Evaluation at Providence.

“Affordable housing stock is one part of the problem, but there are other systems that we need in place to support people experiencing homelessness and connect them to the right programs,” she says.

Providence’s commitment to helping end homelessness

Homelessness in the United States is on the rise, and an annual nationwide survey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) confirms this trend. According to the survey, released in March 2021, homelessness in the U.S. rose for the fourth straight year. The latest survey was conducted before the pandemic and HUD officials say its effect on homelessness may not be known for years.

At Providence, we believe housing is health and we’re committed to compassionate care for all people. In service of this mission, Providence Supportive Housing offers permanent supportive housing in the communities we serve, with a focus on serving elderly or disabled individuals or families that qualify as very low income. Learn more about what we’re doing to help end homelessness in your community.

Visit our Annual Report to our Communities page

To learn more about what we’re doing to help end homelessness in your community and to learn about our other community benefit programs, check out our Annual Report to our Communities.

Related Resources

In search of the prescription for homelessness in Anchorage

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

 

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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