At any given time there are more than half a million people in the U.S. living on the streets or in emergency shelters and transitional housing. Another 10 million households are at risk of homelessness as a result of rising costs of living, medical expenses, or job loss. Many families rely heavily on public services, cycling through episodes of hospitalization, incarceration, and emergency shelter.
Our response to homelessness is spread across agencies and levels of government. It’s a critical problem, but costs are diffuse, and solutions are expensive. What works in one place may not work in another. We see outcomes-based funding as a mechanism for taking on these challenges: forging new cross-sector partnerships that expand access to housing and services and work toward ending homelessness.
How We Help
- Facilitate data sharing across the community—e.g., between Continuums of Care, healthcare providers, and criminal justice agencies—to better understand needs and patterns of service use among people experiencing homelessness.
- Quantify the economic cost of homelessness down to the individual level.
- Assess promising programs for improving outcomes for people experiencing homelessness, and estimate the financial benefits of scaling those services.
- Convene partners from across sectors to design and implement outcomes-based contracts to improve housing stability, reduce criminal justice interactions, and/or improve health outcomes.
- Raise private capital to support the expansion of services, if needed.
Deploy $12.75 million in a Pay for Success project designed to help 150 residents of Anchorage, Alaska experiencing persistent homelessness access permanent housing and supportive services. The Municipality of Anchorage, the United Way of Anchorage, Social Finance, and more than 20 other government, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations are collaborating on this three-year initiative.
Partner with 14 county and city departments across Ventura County and the City of Ventura to integrate data across systems that track homeless programs, law enforcement, healthcare delivery, emergency transit, and behavioral health. Identify the service use and costs of people experiencing long-term homelessness and estimate the possible impact of a substantial expansion of supportive housing in the community.
Austin and Travis County, TX Home Initiative
Scale permanent housing and supportive services for up to 200 residents that are currently experiencing homelessness and support a coalition of over six local partners, including the City of Austin and St. David’s Foundation, as they explore innovative and braided financing models to fund this work.
Sacramento Homelessness Cost Study
Define the historical costs of persistent homelessness and produce an estimated cost-benefit to the City and County of Sacramento, CA of expanding permanent supportive housing services to better support this population.
- “Homelessness in Ventura County: An Analysis of the Service Use and Cost of Persistent Homelessness,” Social Finance
- “City, County Look to Private Investors to Help on Homelessness,” Austin Monitor
- “Using Pay for Success to Improve Outcomes for the Persistently Homeless in Sacramento,” Social Finance
- “COVID-19 Response: Isolation and Quarantine of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness,” California Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission and Social Finance
- “What Policies can Help Prevent Evictions in the Wake of COVID-19?” Social Finance
- See more publications >>
Homelessness has become one of the most frequent applications of Pay for Success (PFS) over the last five years, and Social Finance is working with many communities to reimagine the homeless system of care. This growth is driven, in part, by the ability of PFS to address the “multiple pockets” problem by braiding funding across the many organizations and budgets impacted by homelessness. Across this portfolio of homelessness-focused work, Social Finance has worked with all levels of local governments, Continuum of Care lead agencies, philanthropy, and health care providers and insurers to mobilize capital and scale evidence-based models like permanent supportive housing. We also work with noted experts in housing and homelessness and partners like CSH. Learn more >>
If you are interested in learning more about our homelessness work, contact Vice President Jake Segal.