LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)— The Coalition for the Homeless, together with their member agencies, has announced the April 1 launch of Common Assessment, a new program aimed at reducing the length of stay in shelters and increasing the likelihood of success of our city’s homeless population in staying out of homelessness in the future. The Common Assessment will be administered by Family Health Center’s Phoenix Health Center, one of the Coalition for the Homeless’ member agencies, and be applied across the homeless services system, so that every individual and every family who enters one of Louisville’s services providers will be asked the same questions regarding their lives. Based on their answers, a services plan will be tailored to meet each person or family’s specific needs.
The launch of this new program coincides with the announcement of the 2013 Louisville Homeless Census results, which show that in 2013, Jefferson County’s homeless services providers served 8,608 unduplicated homeless people. Of those, 1,371—16%—were moved out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Part of this is due to the efforts of Louisville’s Rx: Housing program, which has provided permanent supportive housing for 137 chronically homeless adults.
Natalie Harris, Executive Director of The Coalition for the Homeless says, “Homeless people aren’t all homeless for the same reason, and we hope that by really evaluating and tailoring their housing and services solutions, we will be able to reduce the duration of their homelessness and improve their overall experience. Because we are using a national model that has proven successful in other communities, we know we’re asking the right questions.”
The Common Assessment program is funded through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care program grant administered by Metro Louisville. The funds have been used to hire Family Health Center’s Phoenix Health Center staff who will go into the shelters to assess the needs of families and individuals and provide local resources toward reaching the ultimate goal of permanent housing.
The HUD funding allocated to Louisville’s Common Assessment program is part of a $9 million total allocation that funds 42 programs serving the homeless in our city. Due to effective collaboration and leveraging of these programs over the past decade, Louisville providers have been able to access almost twice the estimated distribution of these federal Continuum of Care funds compared to other communities of Louisville’s size.
The Coalition for the Homeless is located on Fourth Street in Downtown Louisville.