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IPI Academics in Elevators Transcript

[Music] Hi everybody I’m Andy Giacomazzi and welcome to another episode of academic talking academics and elevators. We are here with Dr. Vanessa Fry who is a research director for the Idaho Policy Institute within the School of Public Service welcome. Vanessa it’s so good to be here with you today and as you know here on academic talking academics on elevators we take that classic elevator pitch to a whole new level. First thing you got to do is pick a floor any floor that you’d like and we’re gonna start taking this ride.

[Vanessa] Well since we’re in the Zions Bank building let’s go all the way up to 17 and check out in the view.

[Andy] Zions Bank is home to the Idaho Policy Institute our first question for you and we know that these are difficult times right now and the Idaho Policy Institute and the work that you all are doing are really doing some things to address what’s going on in this world pandemic. Can you give us an example of that.

[Vanessa] Certainly so we’ve got a number of research experts at IPI and one of the things that we’ve been look to to assist with during the pandemic is thinking about how decision-makers can be utilizing different sets of data to make their policy decisions and so we’ve been working a little bit with the City of Boise and the hazard and climate resilience Institute here at Boise State.

[Andy] Well thank you that’s awesome work timely, relevant and impactful another project that you all have become very well known for is projects dealing with homelessness can you give us a sense of your work with the with the New Path Community Housing Initiative?

[Vanessa]  Certainly so new path Community Housing is a 40 unit building that houses people formerly experiencing long-term homelessness and what they do is they identify individuals living on the street or in emergency shelters that are also having some sort of disabling condition and they put them directly into new paths and we serve as a long-term evaluator for that program.

[Andy] Oh great work absolutely great work. Whoa did it stop? I think the elevators stopped for a second did it stop on your end this model?

[Vanessa] You know it might and maybe we stopped that maybe we are stopping at floor six where IPI is.

[Andy] Oh fantastic. Let’s go down to about big three for three yeah okay and while we’re heading down the floor three. If you can tell us a little bit about housing first and how that saves taxpayer money and produces better outcomes for the homeless community.

[Vanessa] Definitely so housing first is the intervention that new-path Community Housing uses and the idea is they identify people that are needing support and they’re not expected to overcome their issues before moving into housing so the idea is putting them in housing first and then they can address issues like substance misuse or any long-term post-traumatic stress disorder they might be having or other mental health issues and once we get them in the housing we know that their interactions with the criminal justice system in the emergency medical system are going to go down and therefore save the community money. So for example the first year of new paths we saw in our evaluation that the community avoided cost or saved money around 1.3 million dollars so it’s pretty significant.

[Andy] Phenomenal and and taking care of that population more than just basic needs?

[Vanessa] Right and so what the idea is that they move in housing and then they get long-term supportive services while they’re in housing and that could be anything from preventative mental health treatment to making sure they have the food they need to eat on a weekly basis helping them get from new paths to maybe an appointment they might have at Terry Riley so all types of wraparound services.

[Andy] Great I’m gonna take us over two more six to get off at the IPI but one final question tell us just a little bit more or something other projects that the IPI is working on right now.

[Vanessa] Yeah definitely so IPI, I always say that we’re issue agnostic. So we’ll work with with any sector and also on any issue so right now we have a number of education based research projects. One is with Bloom which is a non-profit in the state that is helping support the charter school system and so we’re doing a long-term evaluation of their charter school program project and then another example would be working with state agencies like health and welfare and with that project we’re looking at at the impact of an intervention on individuals with severe mental illness and trying to get them supported and then back into supportive housing after they leave state mental health institutions.

[Andy] Great work there. 2019 my understanding about 10 new clients 20 new projects for you all you got a great staff of both professional staff, faculty undergraduate and graduate students thanks for all the work that you’re doing over the Idaho Policy Institute Vanessa. A real important piece not only the school of public service in our community research arm but also an important piece of the community research initiatives at Boise State University

[Vanessa] Well thank you so much it’s great talking to you today and we can’t thank the dean’s office enough for your support of IPI so thanks for that

[Andy] Absolutely our pleasure and thanks for everyone for being here with us today join us on another episode coming up really soon of academics talking at academic virtual elevator [Music]