FOR: Immediate Release
DATE: June 12, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Kubas-Meyer, 401-247-4278
Riverwood’s Housing First RI awarded $200,000 grant from The Rhode Island Foundation to help combat chronic homelessness
Providence, R.I. -- Riverwood Mental Health Services has received a $200,000 grant from The Rhode Island Foundation to expand its highly successful Housing First RI (HFRI) program to serve the chronically homeless.
The HFRI program will use the funds to increase the number of housing units in underserved areas, integrate medical care, and document the overall economic and social impact of the HFRI program on the community.
“While the money is certainly important, the grant’s endorsement of the value of permanent supportive housing as a solution to chronic homelessness by the Rhode Island Foundation should go far in our efforts to establish the long-term sustainability of the program,” said Daniel Kubas-Meyer, Executive Director of Riverwood Mental Health Services.
In 2005, Housing First was a nationally tested housing model that was piloted in RI with 50 clients as a solution to chronic homelessness. Its success has resulted in significant expansion. Today, HFRI is one of the largest scattered-site programs of its kind in the United States, with 170 persons in housing throughout central Rhode Island and Newport County. The program also provides outreach to several hundred more in a given year.
“Through our grants, we aim to leverage ideas that can have significant impact. We applaud Riverwood Mental Health Services for their innovative and solution-focused approach to ending chronic homelessness in Rhode Island,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
The Housing First model provides those in need with quick access to subsidized housing and the supportive services to maintain their housing. The use of services is voluntary. Success rates for the HFRI program, as measured by a person being housed for at least 12 months, average about 85 percent annually.
“This program is not only effective in terms of client stability. We have evidence that it actually saves substantial taxpayer dollars when compared to the actual cost of services accessed by persons while they are homeless,” added Kubas-Meyer.
Other major funders of Housing First RI include The United Way, The RI Department of Behavioral Health PATH, State of RI Consolidated Homeless Fund, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Financing Corporation (RIHMFC) partners with the HFRI program to provide housing subsides thorough Shelter Plus Care and Rhode Home programs.
Founded in 1982 as a community mental health service provider, Riverwood Mental Health Services Riverwood has evolved from operating a single group home into a multifaceted statewide service provider of behavioral health and homeless services.