Pay for Success
Bouncing in and out of shelters and emergency rooms with no stable place to call home is no way to live. Few other options exist for more than 2,000 chronically homeless individuals in Massachusetts.
How it Works
Home and Healthy for Good began in 2015 as a Pay for Success program, leveraging a new funding model to set a lofty goal: reducing the number of chronically homeless individuals by half by the end of 2019. The program aims to end the cycle of sleeping in shelters, on the street, and in emergency rooms by providing low-threshold, stable housing. As of January 2019, Pay for Success has housed 789 individuals, and so far 89% of them remain in the program or have successfully exited toward a better living situation.
To function, Pay for Success uses an innovative mix of government resources, philanthropic funding, private investor capital from Santander Bank, Corporation for Supportive Housing, and United Way which provides up-front support to its partner Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance. If the initiative meets its goals, the government compensates investors for the risk they took by providing the money to fuel the program. An independent evaluator, Root Cause, determines whether Pay for Success is meeting its goals.
The model captures funds already being spent on emergency room visits and diverts it instead toward supportive housing. In the six months prior to their entrance into the Pay for Success program, tenants collectively accumulated:
- 59,927 nights in a shelter
- 3,664 days in the hospital
- 1,440 visits to the emergency room
- 989 nights in a detoxification center
- 688 ambulance calls
Removing these financial burdens saved the Commonwealth $2.2 million and counting. That’s money ready to go back into the community and create real change for people in need.
Home and Healthy for Good is about much more than cost-savings. For the hundreds served by the program, those cost-savings fuel the opportunity for a life off the streets, better health outcomes, and stability.