Set Targets and Measure Results
The State of Utah and the City of Worcester, Massachusetts have been leaders in ensuring that progress toward their goals is measured regularly and with the most reliable data available. They have both had great success at reducing the numbers of people experiencing chronic homelessness.
With the approval of the State's Ten-Year Plan in 2005, the State of Utah and Utah’s homeless service providers set a path to provide housing opportunities for all individuals experiencing chronic homelessness by 2014. Nearly 2,000 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness were identified in the 2005 point-in-time count. Existing resources were re-purposed and focused on homelessness programs and some new funding became available through tax credits, HUD, state and local government, and private sources to create the needed permanent supportive housing units. Performance targets were established and all funded homeless service providers were required to focus their services on achieving the goals. With the 2011 point-in-time count, Utah’s chronically homeless count decreased to 601, a reduction of 69 percent from the 2005 count. Utah’s 2012 point-in-time count will identify the people experiencing chronic homelessness by name and through the year each will be assessed as to their vulnerability. This will provide an identified waiting list from which the most vulnerable will be offered housing as units become available, as well as ensure that permanent supportive housing units and those set aside for people experiencing homelessness are targeted to people who have experienced chronic homelessness.
Worcester, Massachusetts set a goal of ending chronic homelessness and earlier this year they achieved it. Worcester did this through a combination of working across silos with partners in housing, law enforcement, and health and service providers. They set a goal of developing 300 new units of single-person housing including 60 units of permanent supportive housing. With this year’s Continuum of Care funding, an additional 56 units of permanent supportive housing have been developed. They also took steps to centralize the homelessness intake system so the system can respond quickly to get people experiencing homelessness into housing and connected to other services available in the community. Between November 2007 and January 2011 the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in Worcester dropped from 109 to occasionally one or two marking an effective end to chronic homelessness in Worcester.