June 11, 2014
Salt Lake City Helps Push National 100,000 Homes Campaign Over the Finish Line
SALT LAKE CITY – Mayor Ralph Becker, in partnership with the Road Home, Veterans Administration, Volunteers of America, Utah, Salt Lake City Housing Authority, Salt Lake County Housing Authority and others announced today that Salt Lake City had housed 615 persons in 406 households since 2012 as part of the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, which today reached its four-year goal of helping communities house 100,000 chronically homeless Americans. That number includes more than 30,000 veterans and represents an estimated annual taxpayer savings of $1.3 billion.
Salt Lake City is contributing to the continued downward trend in homelessness nationally. Between 2010 and today, the number of Americans experiencing chronic homelessness has dropped from 109,812 to 92,593. In the same time, veteran homelessness has declined by 24 percent to 58,063.
“While we celebrate this fantastic milestone, our work in Salt Lake City is ongoing,” said Mayor Becker. “We will not be satisfied until we reach our goal of eliminating homelessness in our community.”
Salt Lake City joined the campaign in November 2012 and is a member of its elite “2.5% Club,” a group of 57 communities nationwide that are on track to end chronic homelessness outright within three years.
“The 100,000 Homes Campaign sparked energy into our collaborative community,’ said Road Home Executive Director Matt Minkevitch. “Thanks to the campaign, we sharpened our focus toward ending homelessness, especially among veterans.”
The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement coordinated by New York-based non-profit, Community Solutions.
“The 100,000 Homes Campaign matters because it shows that ending homelessness is possible and measurable,” said 100,000 Homes Campaign Director and former Army Captain Becky Kanis. “These communities have shown that no one is beyond help or out of reach. Those are just stories we tell ourselves to avoid taking action. By using data and getting smarter about how we work, we can solve this problem and eliminate the national tragedy of homelessness.”
Communities participating in the 100,000 Homes Campaign have achieved success by doing four things differently:
- First, they hit the streets to identify all of their homeless neighbors by name and build a file on each person’s housing needs.
- Second, they prioritize their most vulnerable and chronically homeless neighbors for the first permanent housing available. This includes those who have been homeless for extended periods of time and those who face serious health conditions associated with an increased risk of death on the streets.
- Third, they adopt the evidence-based Housing First approach, moving people into permanent housing right away and working diligently on long-term employment, drug treatment, healthcare and mental health needs only after stable housing has been secured.
- Finally, they use data to streamline their local housing systems and track their monthly progress toward ending homelessness. All communities work toward a goal of housing at least 2.5% of their chronically homeless population each month, putting them ahead of the growth curve and on track to end chronic homelessness outright.
Ending Veteran Homelessness
The Campaign’s final tally includes more than 30,000 veterans. This success offers a strong sign for President Obama’s commitment to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Since 2010, homelessness among veterans has dropped by 24 percent and an updated federal estimate due out this summer is expected to show an ongoing decrease. Many Campaign communities have made a special commitment to ending veteran homelessness by partnering with their local VA Medical Centers to connect chronically homeless veterans with federal housing vouchers.
In Salt Lake City, the Housing Homeless Veterans Initiative was launched in November 2013 with the goal of housing 100 veterans in 100 days. The partner agencies were able to house 92 veterans in 50 days and are now working to help share this model with other groups.
Dramatic Taxpayer Savings
An independent estimate developed by Liana Downey and Associates, a strategic government advisory firm, puts the total taxpayer savings associated with housing 100,000 chronically homeless Americans at more than $1.3 billion annually based on existing studies. This is due to the fact that chronically homeless people make frequent and unnecessary use of emergency services like the emergency room, where a single night’s stay often costs more than a full month’s rent in permanent housing. Connecting these individuals to permanent housing with simple supportive services to help them remain housed dramatically reduces public costs.
Chronically homeless Americans are defined federally as those who have been homeless for one year or more, or more than four times in the past three years, and are dealing with a disabling medical condition. This group accounts for 12-15 percent of the homeless population yet consumes more than 70 percent of all public dollars spent on homelessness through high emergency service usage.
Ending Homelessness Faster
Communities participating in the Campaign have also achieved significant improvement in their housing performance. On average, communities participating in the Campaign have gone from housing 1.6% of their chronically homeless population each month to 5.1% — a significant improvement placing many communities on track to end chronic homelessness outright in the next two to three years.
Communities will continue to report new people housed to the 100,000 Homes Campaign until the end of July, which means the Campaign may finish well over its goal of 100,000. Next January, Community Solutions will launch Zero: 2016, a national effort to build on the success of the Campaign by helping communities bring their chronic and veteran homeless populations all the way to zero.
Coordinated by Community Solutions, the 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement of more than 230 communities working together to find and house 100,000 of their most vulnerable, chronically homeless neighbors by July 31, 2014. Since the Campaign’s launch in July of 2010, participating communities have found permanent housing for more than 100,000 of their homeless neighbors, including more than 30,000 veterans, at an estimated cost savings to taxpayers of $1.3 billion. The Campaign is led by former Army Captain Becky Kanis of Community Solutions. Learn more at www.100khomes.org and www.cmtysolutions.org.
NATIONAL 100,000 HOMES CONTACT:
Salt Lake City Homeless Services Coordinator Elizabeth Buehler