FUSE – Housing First




(Frequent Users System Engagement) identifies chronically homeless individuals who are the most frequent users of high-cost services such as the emergency room, treatment centers, jail, and the legal system. These individuals typically do not have the funds or insurance to cover these services, and therefore the cost-burden is borne by the community.


  FUSE – Housing First is a Shelter House project formed by the Collaboration Committee of the Local Homeless Coordinating Board based off of two nationally recognized models: FUSE and Housing First.



An approach to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent supportive housing without preconditions and barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation requirements.

FUSE – Housing First is a 3-step model that has been well-researched and proven to be effective to help the hardest-to-house individuals, often times referred to as “frequent users.”


1. Permanent Supportive Housing

Participants are offered a home first without any requirements to participate in services.  Though programs vary widely, there is resounding evidence that the cost of housing and services is far below the cost of NOT housing frequent users.

2. 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.

FUSE chart new color

3. 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
Shelter House
United Action for Youth
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics


FUSE in the News:

The Beacon Iowa City (8/31/2016)