100,000 Homes Team Finishes Registry Week
Collaborative effort surveys the homeless
The 100,000 Homes Campaign in Des Moines is now well underway! Primary Health Care (PHC) is currently leading the local 100,000 Homes Campaign effort to provide permanent residence for people experiencing homelessness in Des Moines. The campaign has already housed 94,486 Americans in 238 cities, including 28,959 veterans. The first step towards reaching their goal is an event called Registry Week, which took place in Des Moines April 21st-27th. During this week, teams surveyed the homeless community to collect information such as medical history, contact details, homelessness history, and risk assessment. These data allow the campaign to prioritize who gets placed first once housing becomes available.
The Des Moines teams were able to complete 80 Vulnerability Index & Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) surveys. Primary Health Care, the Veterans Administration, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, the Project of Primary Health Care, and Institute for Community Alliances all helped in this week-long effort. The team of around 25 people, including three students from Johnston High School, surveyed from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., Monday through Sunday, by reaching out to the homeless where they live and sleep, targeting the unsheltered. Their efforts were somewhat hindered by the rain, though they were able to survey more people at PHC when clients visited to use the shower facilities. The staff and volunteers involved with Registry Week worked around the clock, through inclement weather and the weekend to ensure they had an accurate inventory of those who need housing in Des Moines.
The 100,000 Homes Campaign’s approach to ending homelessness by finding them a place to live is proving successful. Despite initial uncertainties from some, the campaign has confirmed their work is making both a positive social and economic impact through their collection of quantitative data. Their emphasis on placing vulnerable people in homes first is the reverse of most programs, which instead require individuals to undergo rehabilitation before being eligible for housing. Research has shown that “Housing First” programs are more effective at keeping those they help off the streets in the long-term. This is partly due people getting the chance to work with caseworkers and focus on their health rather than searching for places to spend the night. A stable home environment can aid greatly in receiving adequate and consistent treatment. The VI-SPDAT surveys collected during Registry Week allow the campaign to help those with the greatest medical needs first. This has been proven to actually reduce the expenditure of taxpayers’ money. Between the cost of frequent emergency room visits by homeless people for treatments they cannot afford and the cost of incarceration, the total cost of subsidized rent turns out to be much less expensive and much more productive.
For the 100,000 Homes Des Moines team, their next step is to identify which of those surveyed require the most immediate attention. They will work with landlords to provide affordable housing and will provide caseworkers to help the individuals enroll in federal aid programs.
More information about 100,000 Homes can be found here. To watch the “60 Minutes” segment with Anderson Cooper about the national campaign, follow this link. To keep up-to-date with the progress of the campaign in Des Moines, like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.