Cross Park Place – a Housing First project of Shelter House
By finding a solution to the frequent user issue, the FUSE (frequent user systems engagement) program serves as a catalyst for system change. The FUSE-Housing First project targets chronically homeless individuals who are frequent users of high cost services at the public’s expense. Cross Park Place is a demonstration project for the state of Iowa formed by the Collaboration Committee of the Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board which incorporates the FUSE and Housing First models, two nationally recognized programs. Housing opportunities will be made available through a Housing First approach—a permanent housing intervention proven to save both money and lives—and will be targeted for the chronically homeless of our community demonstrating high cross-system service utilization.
Cross Park Place construction began in spring 2018 and is expected to be completed and accepting occupancy in January 2019. The building will be comprised of 24 one-bedroom apartments with on-site offices and an exam room for case managers and partnering health and behavioral health clinicians.
In most communities, including Johnson County, “frequent users” continuously cycle through a variety of emergency interventions of various sorts (legal, medical, psychiatric, detoxification, etc.) This cycle comes at great expense to the community with no lasting improvement to the individual.
A growing number of communities have implemented the FUSE model by providing housing to a targeted “frequent user” population, with integrated health and social services. For these individuals, our community needs a targeted approach to overcome their more complex barriers.
Our solution combines (1) affordable housing, (2) supportive services, (3) data-driven problem solving, and (4) cross system collaboration.
Permanent supportive housing
Housing First: Permanent. Unconditional. Affordable.
Our program isn’t transitional – residents may live there for as long as they wish to. FUSE – Housing First does not place conditions of housing on the behavior of participants, but instead provides subsidized housing with the ongoing option to participate in supportive services.
Our supportive services exist to ensure residents of FUSE-Housing First get the care they need, improve their quality of life, and to prevent any returns to homelessness.
Residents will primarily work with a housing case manager who assists with independent living skills, connects them with outside resources, and works with residents to ensure they uphold requirements of the lease. Additional onsite support will include regular check-ins with a medical professional, mental health counselor, and psychiatrist.
Data-driven problem solving
In-depth research on four chronically homeless individuals in Johnson County showed an average annual un-reimbursed cost of $559,403. If these individuals continue to be homeless the cost to our community would be $2.7 million over the next five years. The implementation of FUSE –Housing First is 60% of the cost of our current approach.
Local research findings are consistent with other communities implementing FUSE across the nation.
Cross system collaboration
Ten Johnson County agencies formed to develop FUSE – Housing First. They will provide services and support as the project continues. These services will be comprehensive and available on-site. While engagement is encouraged, it is not required.
Abbe Center for Community Mental Health
Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County
Iowa City Housing Authority
Iowa City Police Department
Johnson County Jail Alternatives Program
Mercy Hospital Iowa City
Prelude Behavioral Services
United Action for Youth
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics