RI Pay for Success program seeks to reduce persistent homelessness
Rhode Island Pay for Success focuses on individuals with complex behavioral health and medical needs who experience persistent homelessness...
From a Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness press release:
Rhode Island Pay for Success brings together four local providers, state government, and philanthropic organizations to stabilize 125 individuals currently using a disproportionate amount of Medicaid, Department of Corrections (DOC), and homelessness services. This is the first project in Rhode Island to use a Pay for Success financing mechanism, which requires the project to achieve successful outcomes to unlock funding from the state government.
Under the Pay for Success model, private sector investors provide up-front funding to promising service providers. Investors are only repaid by the government if objective benchmarks for savings and other benefits are achieved.
“As we all know, housing directly reflects how people utilize our healthcare system,” said Kimberly Simmons, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. “This project adds another tool to help Rhode Islanders who continue to be impacted by a recurrent cycle of housing instability and poor health outcomes.”
“The seeds for this program began back in 2016 when the Coalition was just one of seven entities nationwide to receive HUD funding for the pilot Pay for Success Program,” said United States Senator Jack Reed (Democrat, Rhode Island). “The Coalition has worked extremely hard to secure state and private funds to grow these seeds into a full-scale program.”
"Housing and health care go hand in hand. Having a stable place to live enables the efficient and effective delivery of care and services that can turn lives around," said David Cicilline, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation, which awarded more than $300,000 in seed funding to launch the program. "We commend the Coalition and all our partners for coming together around this innovative strategy for addressing chronic homelessness.”
“A critical component of preventing homelessness and keeping people housed is our state's ability to provide wrap-around services for many of our priority populations,” said Rhode Island Executive Office of Health & Human Services Secretary Richard Charest. “We are excited about the Pay for Success pilot as it expands our critical work around housing and social determinants of health, and we look forward to demonstrating its effectiveness.”
Unlike other projects that seek to rehouse people who need minimal assistance quickly, Rhode Island Pay for Success focuses on individuals with complex behavioral health and medical needs who experience persistent homelessness, frequently use emergency medical services, and cycle through shelters and the criminal justice system.
Of the approximately 1,810 people experiencing homelessness on a given night in Rhode Island in 2023, Rhode Island Pay for Success will refocus resources for eligible Rhode Islanders on a proven intervention called “permanent supportive housing,” which combines affordable housing with wraparound support services, including medical and behavioral health care, job training, and intensive case management. Moreover, the program will help shift costs away from emergency departments to preventative care, and DOC involvement to supportive services.
Under the Pay for Success model, private sector investors provide up-front funding to promising service providers. Investors are only repaid by the government if objective benchmarks for savings and other benefits are achieved. In the case of RI PFS, those performance measurements are tied to the following:
Increases in housing stabilization
Reduction in emergency room utilization
Reduced interaction with the correctional system
In this stable environment, RI PFS participants will work on habits and skills of independent living. Support services will be delivered by Open Doors Rhode Island, House of Hope, Crossroads Rhode Island, and the East Bay Community Action Program.
When outcome measures are met, the investors are repaid by the State appropriated outcome funds. The PFS model has the potential to effectively allocate taxpayer dollars while increasing funding for programs that deliver improved social outcomes.
“When the Rhode Island Pay for Success program was announced, it immediately generated excitement for all of us at EBCAP,” said Rilwan Feyisitan Jr., President and CEO of the East Bay Community Action Program. “It was an opportunity to access a new, flexible funding stream of private and public investment to house the most vulnerable families and individuals in the East Bay. EBCAP’s fully integrated healthcare system places safe, affordable housing as the highest priority in addressing the social determinants of health, and we believe Pay for Success is the next logical step in providing the most comprehensive system of care to the East Bay Community.”
For more on Pay for Success programs, see: Pay for Success: An Opportunity to Find and Scale What Works, an Obama Whitehouse policy briefing.
About Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness
Formerly the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, the Coalition works collaboratively with advocates, providers, and faith-based organizations to create and advance lasting solutions to prevent and end homelessness. Notably, the Coalition, alongside advocates and constituents, lobbied and successfully passed the country’s first Homeless Bill of Rights in June of 2012 (bill S-2052). Day-to-day, the Coalition runs lead on RI’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and the shelter and permanent housing placement end of the Coordinated Entry System (CES), which includes operating the call center (available 365 days), holds legal clinics, facilitates and leads training sessions, leads on initiatives to end youth homelessness, and, most recently, leads the Pay for Success (PFS) initiative — PFS Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Pilot Program. For more information visit rihomeless.org | @rihomeless