4 | SUMMER 2011 St. Vincent de Paul Village ■ COVER STORY ‛‛Project 25” to address chronic
homelessness in San Diego St. Vincent de Paul Village awarded stewardship of flagship program
costs that result from repeatedly servicing people who have no resources of their own.
According to last year’s PTECH Homeless in
Profi le, one San Diegans
BY BRANDON BEHR St. Vincent de Paul Village
“Project 25 is a very intimate and personal way to stop a cycle that keeps happening over and over again. It’s essential not only for the client but for the community as well.”
Marc Stevenson Project 25 Program Manager
has been granted stewardship of Project 25, a unique program targeting San Diego’s chronically homeless. The program enables
St. Vincent de Paul Village to assess the needs of this specialized population and to provide effective interventions. Originally organized by the United Way of San Diego and Commissioner of the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness (PTECH) Brian Maienschein, the program was designed in partnership with various civil and non-profit social service providers including the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and the San Diego Housing Commission. Project 25 combines permanent housing
comprehensive rehabilitation. In doing so, the program expects to reduce the exorbitant public
“chronic.” Such either
four continuously described
individuals are homeless
for one year or without shelter at least four times within a three- year period. Studies indicate that people who fall into this category consume the largest percentage of costs in terms of law enforcement and emergency medical services. One study
found that fi fteen
homeless San Diegans required more than $1.5 million in services over an eighteen-month period; in a single year, one homeless individual visited the emergency room 68 times.
Currently, San Diego’s 15 most “frequent users” — or homeless individuals
who utilize the
greatest number of community- funded resources — cost city approximately $100,000 per person every year and a half. Project
the 25 response to is these and a vigorous challenges.
The program identifi es homeless frequent-users them with and
based First” support healthcare,
thus reducing their dependence upon
resources. upon model,
advocates permanent shelter and subsequent
as an antidote to the problem of chronic homelessness.
PROJECT 25 AT A GLANCE
• Chronically homeless individuals with the highest rate of public-service usage are identifi ed through law enforcement, hospital, and other social service records.
• Individuals are located and offered permanent housing in an affordable housing facility or subsidized apartment.
• Individuals are supplied with in-house healthcare through partnering agencies, thus reducing the costs accrued by emergency rooms and other public resources.
• Individuals are assigned a case manager who monitors their needs, prompts harm-reduction practices, and assists with their treatment and eventual move toward independence.
Many homeless people do not for permanent housing
unless they have fi rst achieved a level of sobriety, found and used medical some
However, providing before
and gained employment. prove
permanent individual that housing
signifi cantly success
rates. This approach also typically sees decreases in service costs and recidivism and increases in prolonged recovery. At
the Village, Project
clients will receive permanent housing and wraparound case management, an approach that encapsulates the Village’s Continuum of Care model.
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