Category Archive: Social Impacter

  1. If You Don’t Believe in Housing First, Here’s What You Do Believe In

    Comments Off on If You Don’t Believe in Housing First, Here’s What You Do Believe In
    HUD Secretary Ben Carson at the National Alliance to End Homelessness

    HUD Secretary Ben Carson at the National Alliance to End Homelessness

    This summer, I attended the National Alliance to End Homelessness annual conference along with 2,000 others who are passionate about ending homelessness. While it’s always a great opportunity to connect with people and exchange ideas, the most important takeaway came from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, who delivered a keynote speech and took a public stance advocating for the Housing First approach to ending homelessness. Simply put, Housing First focuses on rapid access to permanent housing with few prerequisites, as well as support to help individuals and families maintain their housing. During Secretary Carson’s speech, I became extremely encouraged when he urged attendees to stay the course with Housing First.

    Secretary Carson’s speech was especially timely, because lately Housing First has drawn criticism and some are pushing to return to traditional models. In my opinion, these criticisms are the result of misunderstandings about the approach among people who associate it with unrelated issues.

    As someone who understands and promotes Housing First, I can spout off its principles, but Secretary Carson’s speech helped me consider what people who criticize the model believe. So here is my understanding of the beliefs held by people who don’t support Housing First:

    1. Housing is not a basic human right. People should only have a home if they deserve it, earn it, and comply with your standards, which are probably derived from a privileged perspective.

    2. Compassion should only be given to people who want to make changes in their lives. If people are not willing to accept your definition of help or make changes that you feel are fit, then it’s their problem.

    3. Homelessness is an individual problem that results from poor choices, individual behaviors, lack of skills, and laziness. Things like housing markets, economics, political agendas, income inequality, a history of racial oppression, etc., are not the root of the homeless problem.

    4. Someone’s own safe and secure home is not the best place for them to achieve stability and long-term success.

    5. You believe in judging someone for their mishaps, and telling them that what they are doing is wrong.

    6. People cannot be successful in housing without addressing their issues first. You ignore the fact that many housed people, including middle and upper class households, use addictive substances and live with mental illness.

    7. It’s the homeless systems’ responsibility for addressing poverty and cracks in mainstream systems and institutions, such as education, criminal justice, child welfare, behavioral health, labor market, foster care, I could go on.

    8. If someone refuses to enter a shelter or another temporary program, they are choosing to be homeless.

    9. You disagree with medical professionals, and view addiction as a choice for which the consequences are your own. The only cure is 100% sobriety—nothing in between.

    10. People experiencing homelessness are broken and need to be fixed before they can have a home. Fixing means jumping through all sorts of hoops, sleeping in congregate shelters, having religious or other values pushed at you, etc.

    I’m sure that some people will not agree with my list. I’m okay with that. But maybe, by looking at the flip-side beliefs of Housing First, some people will see how problematic that perspective really is.

    For more information about homelessness programs, data, or policy, contact Kris Kuntz, Senior Associate, at Kris@lesardevelopment.com.

  2. State Lawmakers Take Action on Homelessness

    Comments Off on State Lawmakers Take Action on Homelessness
    Tents set up by people who are homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles

    Tents set up by people who are homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles

    Affordable housing advocates weren’t the only winners last week as California lawmakers worked to push through a flurry of bills before the end of the legislative session on September 15th. In addition to creating a permanent source of revenue to fund affordable housing, SB 2 (Atkins) provides funding for programs for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. In 2018, half the funds will be made available to the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide funding for programs for people experiencing  or at risk of homelessness. The legislation specifies that use of the funds includes, but is not limited to, providing rapid rehousing, rental assistance, and navigation centers, as well as the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of permanent and transitional rental housing.

    Several other bills aimed specifically at addressing homelessness also passed during the 2017 legislative session:

    AB 727 (Nazarian) authorizes counties to expand access to housing assistance for people in programs funded by the Mental Health Services Act. The use of MHSA funds for rental subsidies was previously restricted to individuals participating in Full Service Partnerships who require intensive services to stabilize and to individuals who were referred to services from the field. This bill will allow counties to continue to support individuals as they transition to lower levels of service along the continuum of care.

    AB 74 (Chiu) establishes the Housing for a Healthy California Program, which aims to create supportive housing for homeless SSI recipients by leveraging Medi-Cal benefits. The program would be funded through the federal Housing Trust Fund or other sources available to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and would be released through competitive grants to counties and operating reserve grants and capital loans to developers. Numerous studies have demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of coupling stable housing with physical and mental health services for high utilizers of public services.

    AB 932 (Ting) establishes a pilot program allowing specific cities and counties to develop a plan and local ordinances to expedite the construction of emergency shelters on land owned or leased by the city upon declaration of a shelter crisis. HCD would be required to approve local ordinances adopted during the pilot program to ensure compliance with health and safety standards. Eligible localities that declare a shelter crisis are required to submit an annual progress report to the Legislature indicating the total number of residents in shelters, the number who have moved from a shelter into permanent supportive housing, and the number who have exited the system, as well as other data on steps the locality is taking to reduce homelessness.

    AB 210 (Santiago) allows counties to develop multidisciplinary teams to expedite the process of linking homeless adults and families to housing and supportive services by allowing provider agencies to share information and coordinate care. Allowing for a coordinated interagency response will not only improve government efficiency, individuals and families will benefit from greater continuity of care.

    LDC will continue to follow the news from the 2017 legislative session and provide you with updates on how these and future measures, if enacted, are implemented in cities and counties statewide.

    If you are interested in learning more about how to maximize the opportunities created by the legislation, please contact Jessica Ripper, Senior Associate, at jessica@lesardevelopment.com for a briefing or trainings for your team.

  3. Portland Summer Vacation….Visiting a Couples Shelter

    Comments Off on Portland Summer Vacation….Visiting a Couples Shelter
    Beds at the Transition Projects couples shelter in Portland, OR

    Beds at the Transition Projects couples shelter in Portland, OR

    I have family in Portland, Oregon, so I try to get up there at least once a year to see them. If you have not been, Portland is a great city. Very outdoorsy, progressive, good food. Plus, I feel at home given Portland is home to a decent sized homeless population with plenty of encampments, similar to San Diego. As someone who always wants to learn more about ways to end homelessness and see what other communities are doing, I decided to drag my family on a tour of a Portland homeless shelter program specifically for couples. Portland recently decided to open a few couples’ shelters after asking homeless residents their main reasons for not accessing shelter, and hearing two common responses: People couldn’t take their pet and couldn’t stay with their partner.

    So with my wife and two kids in my sister’s car we drove to Southeast Portland to check out it out. Coincidentally, San Diego City Council member Chris Ward, who has strongly advocated for ending homelessness, was also visiting Portland with his family and broke away for to join us. The shelter, the Willamette Center, is a low-barrier shelter with the majority of its 120 beds designated for couples. The shelter is operated by Transition Projects, a large non-profit that offers an array of homeless services throughout Portland.

    While I have been in several shelters for single adults and families, this was my first time in one for couples so I had a lot of questions. How is a couple defined? Do they sleep in one bed or two? How do they handle the usual relationship squabbles? Are they treated as a household in their Coordinated Entry System? And what about, ummm, intimacy activities?

    First off, I was very impressed with the facility’s aesthetics and operation. Located in a cute residential neighborhood, I honestly would have driven right past if I hadn’t been looking for it. One would never know that 120 people sleep inside this nondescript building every night.

    Sign posted at the Transition Projects shelter for homeless couples (Portland, OR)

    Sign posted at the Transition Projects shelter for homeless couples (Portland, OR)

    Once inside, there was a positive vibe to the place. I noticed right away that they did not have any security guards, which may have contributed to this sense of ease. In addition, shelter staff are trained in non-violent conflict resolution, and are very upfront about their expectations from the beginning. They also ask guests to check any weapons or needles at the door, and allow guests to retrieve their items when they leave. Guests don’t have to be sober to stay, but drugs and alcohol are not allowed on site. Pets are welcome regardless of companion or service animal status.

    Now getting back to my questions….The shelter doesn’t define a couple, but rather allows people to define themselves. Married, not married, gay, straight. They have even had adult parents with adult kids identify as a couple and stay there. They don’t question, but do let the couple know that staying there might be difficult if they are no longer a couple, especially because there aren’t any beds designated specifically for single men at that site.

    Couples get one queen bed on bunks. And while the staff commonly deal with relationship disputes, they have found a good balance of giving people space while intervening when necessary. They also have rules stating “No sex or overtly sexual behavior.”

    My biggest takeaway is that the staff treats the people who are staying there as ordinary people. They established limited rules, and people were treated with respect and given the power to make their own decisions. Staff were definitely present but in a highly supportive and problem-solving role. Other communities considering how best to serve homeless couples should really be looking to Transition Projects as an example of what can happen when a city listens to and respects people who are experiencing homelessness.

    For more information about homelessness programs, data, or policy, contact Kris Kuntz, Senior Associate, at Kris@lesardevelopment.com.

  4. Committing to Innovation

    Comments Off on Committing to Innovation

    Elements of InnovationCollaboration. Innovation. Social impact. These buzzwords have become accepted jargon in the nonprofit, philanthropic, and public sectors, but few organizations using these labels live up to the hype. Two articles in the Summer 2017 Stanford Social Innovation Review provide insight on how successful organizations embrace these buzzwords as core values.

    In “Creating Breakout Innovation,” authors Joanna Levitt Cea and Jess Rimington discuss their research on the link between collaboration and innovation. What they found was that most organizations use co-creation to solve simple problems, and limit co-creation when approaching problems that require systemic change. However, they also found 20 breakout innovators whose commitment to co-creation allowed them to fundamentally change the way they work.

    What is a breakout innovator? Cea and Rimington identified five co-creation practices that separate the breakout innovators from organizations who wave the “innovator” flag without truly departing from mainstream practice. Topping the list was power sharing. Yes, working with diverse stakeholders to define the scope of the problem, create opportunities for authentic leadership, and decentralize information sharing takes time and commitment. Second, these innovators forged strong relationships in which stakeholders developed and committed to a fair process based on “a common set of values, commitments, and expectations.”

    Breakout innovators also valued diversity. They established effective ways to manage diverse perspectives, and adapted processes for multiple learning and participation styles. They also valued a wider range of knowledge, avoiding the common trap of overreliance on “expert bias.” Instead, the innovators encouraged individuals to recognize these biases and created space for informal or experiential knowledge, intuition, or other ways of knowing.

    Last, like all famous innovators, these organizations excelled at rapid prototyping to gain feedback on the ideas team members generated throughout the design process. By adopting these collaborative practices, these organizations not only broke free from the status quo, they changed their mind-set and increased the likelihood of future collaboration.

    “Is Your Nonprofit Built for Sustained Innovation?” also underscored that innovation requires cultivation. The article, which is based on the findings from interviews with 145 nonprofit leaders, also highlighted the importance of preparing people to work in diverse teams and valuing knowledge exchange across a wide range of sources. The findings also show that innovators empower “catalytic leaders” who provide both a focused vision and the freedom to innovate, foster curiosity and critical thinking, and developing metrics and criteria for generating and testing ideas.

    Put simply, creating a culture of innovation requires a deep commitment. And it requires organizations to rethink how they handle the constraints of limited resources, industry competition, and the volatile policy and regulatory environment. The research shows, however, that investing in a culture of innovation increases the likelihood that organizations will create sustainable approaches to fulfilling their mission.

    For more information about organizational development and systems change, contact Jessica Ripper, Senior Associate, at jessica@lesardevelopment.com.

  5. Harvard Report Calls for Expanded Range of Housing Options

    Comments Off on Harvard Report Calls for Expanded Range of Housing Options

    Harvard_2017_Housing_ReportNational home prices reached pre-recession peaks last year despite home prices exceeding previous highs in only 41 of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, according to a recent report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. High-income neighborhoods saw significantly greater gains than low-income neighborhoods, resulting in regional growth patterns that show price appreciation along the East and West Coasts and declines in the Midwest and South.

    The impacts of historically low construction on housing supply have disproportionately affected the entry-level housing market and tightened the rental market where prices have far outpaced inflation. While household growth rates have picked up largely due to gains among the millennial generation and immigrants, rates are expected to slow again as the baby-boom generation declines.

    To meet the demand for affordable housing, the report calls for national policies to address the diversity of housing markets nationwide, and for state and local governments to take the lead on developing policies and securing resources to meet the unique needs of their communities. Read more…

    For more information about innovative approaches to policy and real estate development, contact Jennifer LeSar, President and CEO at Jennifer@lesardevelopment.com.

    Jennifer LeSarWith more than 25 years of experience in the real estate development and investment banking industries, Jennifer LeSar brings a diverse background to her work in community development and urban revitalization. Her technical expertise spans from policy and program development to the origination and underwriting of complex investments in equity funds, multi-family portfolios, and historic and low-income tax credit properties utilizing federal and state financing programs.

  6. Legislature Passes Cap and Trade, Delays Vote on Affordable Housing Measures

    Comments Off on Legislature Passes Cap and Trade, Delays Vote on Affordable Housing Measures

    After months of intense negotiations, Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators reached an agreement to extend cap and trade until 2030. On Monday, the Legislature voted to approve two bills that will assure the continuation of the market-based climate program. Legislative leaders also announced that they are postponing a vote on several affordable housing bills until August.

    Cap and Trade

    Gov and State Lawmakers Unveil New Plan to Extend Cap and TradeYesterday’s vote on Assembly Bill 398 (Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella) will require the California Air Resources Board to establish a firm upper limit for the price of allowances or permits to emit one metric ton of greenhouse gases. The current cap-and-trade system set a floor for prices but did not have a fixed ceiling to prevent prices from rising.

    Assembly Bill 617 (Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens; Eduardo Garcia, and Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles) requires stricter air pollution monitoring around industrial facilities and tougher penalties for violating pollution regulations. This benefits communities located near these facilities.

    “Today’s vote on AB 398 to extend Cap and Trade marks an important milestone in the fight against climate change,” said Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who previously led efforts to direct cap and trade funding toward transit-oriented affordable housing projects while serving as Speaker of the Assembly. “Without this extension, California would have been in serious danger of failing to meet our ambitious, world-leading climate goals.”

    Passage of these bills represents a second milestone in assuring the future of cap and trade. In June, California’s Supreme Court upheld an appeals court’s approval of the program. Opponents had challenged the program as essentially amounting to an unauthorized tax.

    Affordable Housing

    Senate Bill 2 Leaps Forward in the State AssemblyAmid Monday’s debate on cap and trade, the Governor, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon issued a joint statement reaffirming their shared commitment to address California’s housing needs when the Legislature resumes in August.

    “Astronomical housing costs are straining family budgets and stress employees who can’t afford to live where they work. That’s unacceptable, and it’s why the affordable housing crisis has been one of our top priorities. The package of legislation we are all working on will help ensure Californians won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have a roof over their head.”

    The package of bills under consideration includes the Building Homes and Jobs Act (SB 2), which was authored by Sen. Atkins and 12 co-signers and gained momentum on July 12th following an approval vote in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and a motion that allowed the bill to bypass the Appropriations Committee and move directly to the Assembly Floor.

    The Building Homes and Jobs Act establishes a permanent funding source that will increase California’s supply of affordable homes, create jobs, and spur economic growth. Ongoing revenues would be obtained through fees on real estate document filings, excluding residential and commercial property sales. Fees would not exceed $225 per transaction.

    Modeled on the Building Homes and Jobs Act bill (AB 1335 — Atkins), SB 2 would address the urgent need for affordable housing funding lost through the elimination of Redevelopment Agencies in January 2012. The bill would generate an estimated $200 million annually following implementation in 2018.

    According to the bill’s sponsors, the California Housing Consortium and Housing California, SB 2 will create approximately 29,000 jobs for every $500 million raised, primarily in the construction sector. The bill would also leverage an additional $2.78 billion in federal, local, and private sector investment.

    Other bills that will be under consideration by the Legislature include:

    Senate Bill 3, the Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 (Beall, D-San Jose), which would authorize a ballot measure asking voters statewide to approve $3 billion in bond financing for rental housing and existing housing programs in the November 2018 election.

    Senate Bill 35 (Wiener, D-San Francisco), which would eliminate multiple local planning reviews for individual projects that meet certain zoning and affordability standards. Under provisions negotiated with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, projects of more than 10 units that qualify for expedited approval would pay union-level wages to construction workers, and developers of some larger projects would have to agree to union-standard work rules or apprenticeship programs.

    Assembly Bill 45, the California School Employee Housing Assistance Grant Program (Thurmond, D-Richmond), which would require the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to administer a $25 million predevelopment grant and loan fund for the creation of affordable housing for school district employees.

    For more information about innovative approaches to policy and real estate development, contact Jennifer LeSar, President and CEO at Jennifer@lesardevelopment.com.

    Jennifer LeSarWith more than 25 years of experience in the real estate development and investment banking industries, Jennifer LeSar brings a diverse background to her work in community development and urban revitalization. Her technical expertise spans from policy and program development to the origination and underwriting of complex investments in equity funds, multi-family portfolios, and historic and low-income tax credit properties utilizing federal and state financing programs.

  7. San Diego Supervisors Approve $25 Million Investment to Address Homelessness, Affordable Housing

    Comments Off on San Diego Supervisors Approve $25 Million Investment to Address Homelessness, Affordable Housing

    SD Investment in Addressing HomelessnessThe Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to invest $25 million from county reserves to increase the supply of low-cost housing in the region. The funds will cover costs associated with permits and regulatory fees, loan repayment, property purchases, equipment leasing, and other related expenses, and will be used to leverage funds from other federal, state and private resources to generate developments that include high-density projects near grocery stores, health services, mass transit lines and other conveniences.

    The Supervisors also designated 11 surplus county-owned properties to create more affordable homes. The targeted parcels range from undeveloped or minimally developed lots as well as aging buildings that could be redeveloped into new apartment complexes benefitting those at risk of homelessness. Nine of the properties are within the city of San Diego.

    In addition, the plan allows Supervisor Roberts to transfer $500,000 of the funds he gets annually under the county’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency to underwrite pre-development and planning activities.

  8. Homelessness Presentation at San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club

    Comments Off on Homelessness Presentation at San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club

    Kris at Rotary ClubIn June, I was invited to discuss homelessness at the Downtown San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club meeting alongside San Diego Housing Commission CEO Rick Gentry. Together we highlighted the history of homelessness in our country, circumstances that contribute to housing instability and homelessness, best practices to reduce homelessness, and San Diego’s response to the growing homeless population. I also got to share the stage with my dad, a Rotary Club member. Trying to cover the complexities of homelessness for a broad audience in 10 minutes is challenging, so I always try to ensure that people leave understanding three important concepts:

    1. Homelessness is unacceptable, and we should not allow it to happen in our country. Seeing people living on our streets has become a normal part of the urban landscape, which is a sad reality that shouldn’t be.

    2. People experiencing homelessness are just that—people—who did not plan on or choose to be in their current situation. Yes, I said that homelessness is not a choice. People will choose housing if given the opportunity, and do not confuse housing with shelter.

    3. Homelessness can be solved. We have seen it happen in communities across the country for homeless veterans and those experiencing chronic homelessness. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but it can be done.

    For more information about homelessness programs, data, or policy, contact Kris Kuntz, Senior Associate, at Kris@lesardevelopment.com.

  9. San Diego is Doing Something Right for Homeless Veterans…What’s Next?

    Comments Off on San Diego is Doing Something Right for Homeless Veterans…What’s Next?

    Homeless VeteransThe 2017 San Diego Point In Time (PIT) count data, released in April, showed that homelessness has risen, and unsheltered homelessness has increased significantly. This was not surprising. If you have driven around San Diego lately, in nearly every community in the region you can visibly see people sleeping outside. Although the overall results are dismal, one statistic provided a little glimmer of hope.

    From 2016 to 2017, homelessness among veterans decreased 9%, continuing a trend that has resulted in a 29% overall decrease in veteran homelessness since 2013.

    So San Diego is doing something right with Veterans but what is it? When I pondered this question, the usual things came to mind first. San Diego has participated with the great folks at Community Solutions in the 25 Cities initiative and is still involved in the Built for Zero effort. San Diego has focused on Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) in the form of Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) funding and HUD VA Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. In addition, the San Diego Housing Commission is making headway on housing 1,000 veterans as part of its Housing Our Heroes program, and both the City and the County have landlord engagement programs targeted to encourage more landlords to house homeless veterans. All of these things together most likely make up the “what” San Diego is doing to house homeless veterans.

    We still counted 1,054 homeless veterans in the PIT; however, at a 9% decrease per year (although good), it will take us several more years to actually end veteran homelessness. I decided to look at some local data to figure out how we can make that 9% decrease a whole lot more and here are some thoughts:

    Increase VASH Utilization. Recent figures showed that the City and County Housing Authorities combined had a 78% utilization rate as of December 31, 2016. There has been a lot of effort to improve our utilization, and local media has highlighted veterans living on the streets with vouchers in hand. Yes, we have a low vacancy rate and a housing affordability crisis but so do many communities across the country. For example, the following large metropolitan areas, some with similar housing markets, have higher VASH utilization rates: County of Los Angeles (93%), New York City (90%), Dallas (86%), Harris County (84%), and Seattle (82%). Even if we increased our percentages just 5% or 10%, fewer veterans would not be on the streets in our 2018 PIT count.

    We need to get creative.  Maybe we explore roommate situations where veterans can live together in a 3-bedroom unit. Although San Diego’s vacancy rates are tight, they ease up slightly with multi-bedroom units or single family homes.  We could also explore modular units that are relatively inexpensive to bring on-ling while we actually build housing.  The City of San Jose is looking at using modular structures that have 6 bedrooms per structure with shared common spaces that meet the habitability standards so that Veterans could cash in their VASH vouchers.

    Increase outreach efforts for veterans living on the streets. We should develop the capacity to engage each and every one of the 454 unsheltered veterans identified in the 2017 PIT. However, when looking at a year’s worth of regional Street Outreach data from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), San Diego only served 245 Veterans. So how are we able to count 454 veterans living outside on a single night, but engage only half that population over the course of a year? The Street Outreach figures could be undercounted as our VA outreach programs do not use HMIS, so we don’t know those figures. Nevertheless, we should question why we are serving only half the people we count.

    And keep in mind, this was not just unique to Veterans. In the 2017 PIT, there were over 5,000 unsheltered persons, and our Street Outreach programs only touched about half in a year.

    Connect People Exiting from Emergency Shelter/Interim Housing to Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing. When looking at regional Emergency Shelter data, only 30% of veterans exited successfully and only half of those veterans exited to RRH, PSH, or another subsidized housing program. The other half left to live in their own rental housing or with friends or family members. Like it or not, emergency shelters often serve as the entry to the system, so we need to ensure that we connect veterans with housing resources while they are there.

    Continue to Increase Rapid Rehousing and Decrease Transitional Housing. We served over 1,500 Veterans in RRH in a 12 month period. Of those who exited, 65% successfully went to permanent housing. This is compared to the over 1,200 Veterans we served in Transitional Housing with only 38% leaving to a permanent housing destination. We need to expand our RRH programs, and also get better at them. A 65% success rate is good, but other communities are performing at much higher levels, so we need to understand housing-based case management, core responsibilities, and other successful strategies. For Transitional Housing, we need to start thinking about how we use those beds as Interim Housing that provide veterans with a place to stay while we are working to connect them to permanent housing resources. I’ll be interested to see how San Diego responds to the massive changes coming with the VA Grant and Per Diem Program.

    Invest in Prevention and Diversion Services for Veterans. In a one-year period, over 1,600 veterans entered the homeless system for the first time, including 11% who entered from living with family and friends, 5% from a permanent housing situation, 2% from “other,” and 1% from subsidized housing. This accounts for a little over 300 Veterans. Diverting even half of these veterans from entering the system would be substantial—and very doable. Of the veterans who entered from a permanent housing situation, nearly three-fourths were in their apartments for a year or longer. With the right prevention strategies such as rental assistance and landlord mediation, many of these veterans could likely remain in their homes. Oh, and San Diego has experience doing prevention and diversion with veterans through the Veteran Homelessness Prevention Demonstration (VHPD) program that was in operation a few years back.

    Better Understand the Link Between Exiting RRH to HUD VASH. Of the 787 Veterans who exited successfully from an RRH program (most of them from the SSVF program), 35% exited to a VASH subsidized unit. We need to better understand this phenomenon. Are we using RRH as a bridge to a VASH voucher? If so, how long is the “bridge?” Is this a population that needs more support than RRH can provide? If so, how are we making that determination? None of this is a bad thing. We just need to explore how we can best use our resources.

    San Diego has made some great strides with homeless veterans. However, it will take us a while before all veterans in our community have a place to call home if the rate of homelessness decreases only 9% per year. By understanding what has led to the decreases, we can try to refine and replicate those solutions for other populations.

    For more information about homelessness programs, data, or policy, contact Kris Kuntz, Senior Associate, at Kris@lesardevelopment.com.

  10. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – Invest in Results Because Outcomes Matter

    Comments Off on The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – Invest in Results Because Outcomes Matter

    Federal Reserve of SFSocial impact bonds and Pay for Success models offer the private sector a mechanism to invest in evidence-based programs that reduce long-term costs to society and yield significant social impacts. Outcomes investing has become the norm for foundations as well, offering opportunities for philanthropy to leverage funding with public and private sector financing.

    On June 13th, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Nonprofit Finance Corp. focused on the importance of “Investing in Results” at a one-day conference in the Bay Area. Featured presenters addressed the question “What does it take to measure and fund positive social change?” The event explored how service providers, government, philanthropy, and others are working together to address entrenched social issues in our communities and focus on long-term solutions. The presenters included leaders in the fields of philanthropy, public-private financing, affordable housing, healthcare, homelessness services, workforce development, and outcomes investing who discussed how funding systems can be changed to orient all stakeholders around outcomes, what outcomes-based funding models look like, and what is involved in developing them.

    Key speakers and topics included:

    • Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO, Nonprofit Finance Fund – “Introduction from Nonprofit Finance Fund”
    • Fred Ali, President and CEO, Weingart Foundation and Fred Blackwell, CEO, The San Francisco Foundation – “Funding an Outcomes World”
    • Sam Schaeffer, Executive Director and CEO, Center for Employment Opportunities – “Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement From Success to Failure”
    • Carrie McKellogg, Chief Program Officer, The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund – “Mind the Gap: Social Enterprise as Outcomes Driven Workforce Solution“
    • Tyler Norris, Chief Executive, Well Being Trust – “Creating a Market that Values Health”
    • Don Howard, President and CEO, The James Irvine Foundation – “Promise and Pitfalls of Prioritizing Outcomes in Foundation Strategy”

    Jennifer LeSar, LDC CEO, who attended the conference, said the presentations clearly underscored a common principle — “if the envisioned results can’t be credibly measured, even the most promising systems change will not be funded.” LDC staff are working with numerous clients to create organizational cultures, structures, and data-driven systems change that will improve outcomes for service providers and regional coalitions tasked with solving homelessness, affordable housing availability, and other major social problems.