; The Threats _ Promises of Downsizing Shelter
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The Threats _ Promises of Downsizing Shelter


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									The Threats & Promises/Opportunities
       of Downsizing Shelter
           Susanne Beaton
       Two Axions to Frame the Discussion
From The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

   “When you change the way you look at
    things, the things you look at change”
         (principle of quantum physics)

   “If you always do what you always did,
    you will always get what you already
    Applying Axioms to Homelessness
   If the intent is to end family homelessness, then
    we do have to think harder about keeping
    families housed, rapid re-housing strategies
    and shorter shelter stays.
   When we think of the Threat and Promise of
    downsizing the shelter system, we need to think
    about the threat coming from how we used to
    think about responding to family homelessness,
    and the promise coming from being viewed
    through a new lens change.
             Threats to Think About:
1.   Community loses a publicly sited facility – safety net is lost. Staff become

2.   Lack of trust in the politics and shifting winds – Section 8’s are here and
     then gone, etc… Government takes a walk and won’t respond, kids get
     hurt, no stable place for families.

3.   Shifting economy resulting in more poverty

4.   Fragile families living on the edge, too poor to live on their own

5.   Families becoming invisible.

6.   Loss of emotional connection- shelters are the holiday stops, volunteer
     opportunities and fundraising platforms

7.   Family shelters are better than no place at all.
 Promises/Opportunities to Consider
Now, with my new lens change I see...

1.        Families getting what they really want: a home.

2.        Local communities becoming engaged and aligned resulting in:
      •       Better collaborations that can provide some new private/public partnership
              approaches and resources
      •       A new “front door” to assess and respond to any family in need (not just eligible
      •       Prevention becoming the real goal, facility re-use given a broader agenda…other
              populations (SRO’s, Aging Out of Foster Care, Drug and Alcohol rehab, etc…)
      •       New assessment and stabilization centers

4.        Re-thinking our budgets and allowing data to drive the resources, innovation and
          evaluation. If poverty is the issue, money and mainstream resources are the solution.

5.        Coordinating the front door, better assessment, reduction in fragmentation, catching
          fragile families and packaging support before they lose it all
                 More Opportunities…..

6.   Bringing new stakeholders to the conversation, allowing new leadership and thus
     new solutions (In MA, the business leaders made the difference in our Governor
     creating an Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness with real
     Commissioner participation across state agencies. It broke the isolation and the

7.   Raising private resources through community/stakeholder involvement, fundraising
     campaigns (i.e. supermarket debit cards, walks, etc…),

8.   Creating stakeholder advisory committees help to broaden awareness of the
     issue. All data is published and public. The data tells the story and drives the
     resources. Keeps momentum going in community
     Successful Programs in Massachusetts
Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)
    436 Families assisted over a two-month period, with rental assistance, back rent,
    $1,365 Average per household
    All of these families were prevented from falling into homelessness

Department of Transitional Assistance’s Toolbox (stabilization supports)
    476 families prevented or quickly re-housed over 2 months with flexible dollars
    $3,080 Average per household

Shelter to Housing Pilot
     207 families rapidly re-housed with stabilization services with a shallow subsidy
     $6,000 granted per household, per year
     After two years 80% success rate, families remain in housing

          These 3 initiatives keep 1,119 families housed for the same cost
                              as 63 family shelter rooms
Costs of Shelter vs. Housing Aid





    10,000                                              6,000
             Shelter 12   RAFT    D T A T o o lbo x   Shelter to
              mo nths                                  H o using
        Compare the Costs
oA shelter bedroom costs MA approx. $47,000

oWhile Prevention/Rapid Re-Housing costs MA
per family an average of $2,222 annually.

o Prevention Initiatives keep 22 families housed
for the same cost as ONE shelter room
o   Flexible resources (public and private), short term shelter, local
    design, mixed stakeholders will help convert minds and hearts
    toward a Housing First model because in the end, the data will
    drive the discussion. Aligning the universe will get you closer to
    the dream of ending family homelessness.

o   Government alone will never be able to get the job done.

o   Serving more families for less money with better outcomes requires
    public and private partnership both locally and at the state and
    federal level.

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