Best Practices are generally considered to be practices, approaches or processes to rendering housing and/or supportive services to individuals experiencing homelessness that are proven to work in producing greater than average results. There are several ways that Best Practices may come to gain notoriety and their labels suggest the method; "time-tested" meaning the strategy has not necessarily been studied academically, rather a long history of success is the indicator; "emerging" meaning that all indications look promising, yet the results are not in; and the strongest form, "evidence-based" meaning backed up by peer-reviewed academic studies clearly indicating statistical significant results.
Best Practices can be found in nearly every facet of housing and services in every sub-population, from unaccompanied youth to ex-offendors re-entering our communities. Learn more by visiting the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness' Research and Evaluation page.
Permanent Supportive Housing and the Housing First Model
This evidence-based best practice model turns the traditional, more linear approach to solving homelessness upside down for a very specific target population; Chronic Homelessness. Understanding that 10% of the homeless population (Chronic Homelessness) consumes 50% of service system resources, its creators sought to enter people experiencing chronic homelessness directly into permanent affordable housing and "wrap" them with voluntary supportive services rather than requiring treatment up front in temporary housing while assisting them to become "housing ready;" a task they fail at more often than not. By disconnecting service compliance from housing eligibility, this model is able to boost housing retention rates to the high 80th percentile and has been shown to reduce costs to the community through reductions in emergency room visits, hospitalizations, jail episodes, human service consumption and other cost drivers.
Learn more about the effectiveness of Permanent Supportive Housing at the Corporation for Supportive Housing's Research and Evaluation page.
Navigation is a term coined by AZCEH's very own Special Initiative, Project H3: Home, Health, Hope. As an enrolled community in the 100,000 Homes Campaign, AZCEH and the Maricopa County ending homelessness community wanted to be sure that each of the Top 50 most medically vulnerable homeless individuals had the best set of supportive services possible to ensure their success and our own ability to impact long-term systems change. The Navigator concept blends two time-tested strategies, street outreach and case management, with one evidence-based approach, peer support and marries them up with recovery principals, motivational interviewing and kinship. Navigation is always a supplement to any other entitlements including any case management available to an individual, yet serves to connect the dots between myriad systems one individual must encounter to successfully end their homelessness. We affectionately refer to it as Outreach + Case Manager + Friend = Navigator and write all about it in our 3rd White Paper.
As an emerging Best Practice, Navigation in this regard remains to be proven, yet Arizona State University's Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy has taken the challenge of its evaluation. To get an idea of why we are so excited about its promise, take a look at this speech given by ASU CABHP at our one-year celebration showing early results.