Pay For Success paves the way for over 250 individuals in first year

The Massachusetts Alliance for Supportive Housing got 250 chronically homeless individuals off the streets and into housing this past year as they implemented the nation’s first Pay for Success program, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance announced in a press release.

Pay for Success, which aims to cut chronic homelessness in Massachusetts by 50 percent over a period of six years by providing permanent, low-threshold supportive housing, surpassed its original goal of housing 200 people in its first year, the release said. The program is run by The Massachusetts Alliance for Supportive Housing (MASH), a partnership organization that includes the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and Corporation for Supportive Housing.

Along with getting people off the streets and into housing, the program also aims to create “significant cost savings in emergency room and inpatient care,” the release read.

“Preliminary data suggests that by focusing on housing chronically homeless individuals and long-term homeless individuals who are high utilizers of emergency care, the Pay for Success initiative will have a significant impact on the utilization of emergency resources,” MHSA’s President and Executive Director Joe Finn said in a statement.

In the six months before the 250 people were housed, they had collectively spent 18,917 nights in a shelter and 1,816 days in a hospital. They accounted for 541 emergency room visits and 690 nights in detox treatment centers, the release read.

Of the 250 residents, 200 are now receiving benefits from the nationally recognized MassHealth Pay for Success Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness (CSPECH) program, the release read.

“This Pay for Success initiative is enabling the Commonwealth to rapidly scale approaches such as the ‘Housing First’ model, and MHSA’s Home and Healthy for Good program at a rate that would not be possible without the upfront private capital and philanthropic investment of the partnership,” Jeffery Hayward, chief of external affairs at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, said in a statement. “It is exciting to see models that are proven to work funded at a level that is providing dignity to some of our most vulnerable individuals, significantly reducing our state’s chronically homeless individual population and creating potential savings in other costs like incarceration, shelter and emergency care.”

Deborah De Santis, president and CEO of CSH, said in a statement that it was impressive that so many organizations were coming together to support the chronically homeless.

“So many vulnerable people have been helped already,” De Santis said. “It is certainly an achievement that this initiative has exceeded its minimum goal for the first year; but even more impressive is the scope of the providers they have attracted to the table as partners, particularly the health care and managed care organizations that recognize we can reduce costs and improve the health of vulnerable people through the stability that comes with supportive housing.”

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