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In 2018 VNA Foundation convened a workgroup of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) providers to determine how healthcare for people experiencing housing insecurity is best provided and evaluated. Participants, including Beds Plus Care, Connections for the Homeless, Deborah’s Place, Facing Forward to End Homelessness, Housing Opportunities for Women, and North Side Housing & Supportive Services, agreed that more study was needed, and over the past four years the workgroup piloted a data collection project to compare different models of service provision.
In 2022, initial findings from six quarters of service data, interviews and case studies were analyzed, and a white paper, “Utilizing a Mixed-Methods Analysis to Differentiate Models of Healthcare for PSH Residents,” was recently released.
Authors include: Anika Nerella, 2022 graduate of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and former Intern at VNA Foundation; Claudia Baier, Senior Program Officer and Director of Community Engagement at VNA Foundation; Audrey Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at Deborah’s Place; Kathy Booton-Wilson, Chief Strategy Officer at Deborah’s Place; Liz Brockland, Community Health Nurse at North Side Housing & Supportive Services; Jen Feuer-Crystal, Director of Housing Programs at Connections for the Homeless; and Sara Birchler, Data and Quality Assurance Manager at Housing Opportunities for Women.
Throughout the process, which included quarterly workgroup meetings, the participating PSH providers were able to learn from one another, including the successes and challenges associated with their models of care, and those related to consistent data collection and sharing. As a result, participants were able to improve their individual data collection methods and identify new opportunities for service provision within their agencies. Other findings from the data revealed that mental health services were the services that most closely aligned with healthcare goals identified by the project, and that data tracked in Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) does not necessarily reflect the services that are actually being provided. Phase two of the project is now underway, targeting a more specific population and narrowed outcomes.