Supporting Permanent Supportive Housing Residents During
April 15, 2020
Even in a public health emergency, housing is (still) healthcare. People experiencing homelessness already struggle with health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory diseases — the exact conditions putting people at greatest risk of dying from the coronavirus. The Housing First model, which focuses on putting individuals into housing “first” (to stabilize them, without pre-conditions to getting housed) and then focuses on offering supportive services, including physical and mental health supports to help them stay in housing – is the best model to help these same individuals in uncertain times like these.
How can Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) communities keep their residents safe during the pandemic? We need to work together to slow the spread of this infection locally. Promoting social distancing throughout the community by enabling residents and staff to stay at least 6 feet away from each other is key. There are some small moves that can be made so that people can still meet, and protect the other residents.
- Re-arrange common areas in the community to ensure that residents do not come together in large groups.
- Set up common rooms so chairs are separated by 6 or more feet and facing away from one another, with easy access to tissues, hand sanitizer, and a nearby sink to wash hands.
- Restrict visitation in the community to essential staff only.
- Restrict transportation of residents to essential visits only.
- Cancel all group activities.
- Explore alternatives like individual sessions or telehealth to enable residents who require these sorts of services to continue these activities.
- Anticipate and plan for staffing challenges.
Every community is different, and you know your community best. The more aggressive you can be in your prevention and intervention measures, the more likely you will be able to reduce transmission in your community. It is crucially important to keep promoting community at a time like this, but also promoting healthy habits to ensure the safety of the entire community.
2020 Pathways Home Toolkit Helps Colorado Communities
March 5, 2020
On any given night, thousands of people sleep on the streets of the Denver Metro Area and around Colorado. Like cities and states across America, Colorado is looking for a better solution for people who are experiencing homelessness and have nowhere to turn. “Creating hurdles for people in need to receive housing is not the right approach,” says Katie Symons, Supportive Housing Consultant with BeauxSimone. “There are better ways to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”
Every year, BeauxSimone Consulting, in partnership with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, host a Supportive Housing Toolkit, designed to give technical assistance and peer learning sessions to non-profits, housing authorities, developers and service providers as they increase the number of permanent supportive housing units available in their community.
What is permanent supportive housing? Supportive Housing is a model that helps people find a permanent home that is affordable, coupled with services that are flexible, based upon the support that residents need at any given time. It is a long road to build a project that helps the most vulnerable, but one that is worth all the challenges.
The Supportive Housing Toolkit consists of 5, 2-day sessions that cover all aspects of supportive housing from developing a project concept, to developing and funding a building, property management, operations and service provision. Staff from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and the Division of Housing attend, and work with teams as they develop their project concepts.
The goal of the Toolkit is to develop a feasible plan that is appropriate to the unique dynamics of your community for a new supportive housing development. “Everyone deserves a home to call their own” says Zoe LeBeau, CEO of BeauxSimone Consulting. “An investment in Supportive Housing is an investment in the health of both the individual and the surrounding community.”
For more information on the Supportive Housing Toolkit and to apply for a slot in 2020, click here.