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IPI Research Serves as Catalyst for “Housing First”

Image of Vanessa Fry with Mayor Bieter

New Path Community Housing broke ground on Sept. 20 as Idaho’s first “Housing First” development. This project will provide housing and wrap around services for 40 people experiencing chronic homelessness and reduces the barriers of entry to housing.

In 2016 Idaho Policy Institute’s (IPI) assistant director Vanessa Fry and research associate Sally Sargeant-Hu assessed the community costs associated with chronic homelessness.  They found 100 people experiencing chronic homelessness incur annual community costs of over $5.3 million.  However, implementing a permanent supportive housing program with a housing first approach would cost $1.6 million and result in savings and cost avoidance of $2.7 million. This research contributed to the community’s efforts to launch New Path Community Housing.

IPI is providing technical assistance to recommend goals and outcomes for the program and to develop an evaluation framework for Housing First.  IPI will also be conducting the long term evaluation of the program. School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook said the Idaho Policy Institute’s work on this project is an example of the school’s commitment to being engaged in the community. “Many individuals and organizations are working together to help solve some very difficult problems and help our neighbors in need. We’re grateful to be a small part of this important work.“

Vanessa recently gave a TEDx talk and wrote an article in the Blue Review on using Pay for Success Financing to address persistent social and environmental issues.

Sally Sargeant-Hu, with her colleague Carl Anderson, co-authored a Blue Review article on housing first and permanent supportive housing.