Bridgeport Housing First *

A Community-Developed Model
Carla Miklos, MS, CED - Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc.
Monica Geary, MSW - New Haven Home Recovery
May, 2014
Bridgeport Housing First (BHF) is a true community
collaboration focused on eliminating homelessness
for the most vulnerable population in the Greater
Bridgeport (CT) area.
 Bridgeport is one of the poorest cities in America,
located in one of the wealthiest counties in the country
(Fairfield County, CT).
 The Stamford-to-Bridgeport, CT MSA (Metropolitan
Service Area) has the largest disparity in income in the
 This high cost, low income area struggles to solve the
issue of homelessness through traditional means.
Created a interagency,
multi-disciplinary team.
Aligned efforts with
Opening Doors goals.
Solicited community input,
cooperation, and support.
Formed strong
partnership with real
estate community.
Identified the most
vulnerable and most in
Alpha Community Services-YMCA
Housing and Case Management Services
Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport
Project Based Section 8 Vouchers
Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc.
Housing and Case Management Services
New Haven Home Recovery
Administrative Oversight and Benefits Counseling
Supportive Housing WORKS
Housing Search, Coordination, Team Supervision
Landlords, Property Managers, and Housing
Developers – Rental Units
Local Mental Health Authority – Referrals,
Community Heath Centers – Physical and Mental
Evaluation, Medication
Health Services
Local Non-Profit Organizations and Faith-Based
Community – Counseling, Domestic Violence
Intervention, HIV AIDS Support, Work Readiness, Job
Training, Addiction Counseling, Food, Clothing and
Recruited and trained
volunteers to participate in
registry week.
Administered questionnaire
focused on physical and
mental health, length of time
homeless, and more.
Created list based on
vulnerability – prioritizing
those most likely to not make
it through another winter.
Vulnerability Index - VI
100K Homes Campaign
284 people completed the survey.
171 fit HUD’s definition of chronic homeless.
115 were both chronically homeless and medically
44 veterans completed the survey.
19 responders were under the age of 25.
The community benefited by participating, increasing
awareness, empathy, and collaboration.
Findings allowed us to create a Shared Registry of
those in need, ranking those surveyed from most to
least vulnerable.
Screen clients to confirm
chronic homeless status.
House clients based on need,
preference, accessibility.
Assess individual level
of need for each household.
Provide intensive case
management – support,
advocacy, skill building.
Connect clients to community
supports for employment,
mental health, substance
abuse, DV, parenting,
education, etc.
Effective Social Service Infrastructure
Inter-agency Collaboration
Leveraging Services
Evidenced-based Program Design
CTI: Critical Time Intervention
SOAR: Benefits Counseling
Motivational Interviewing
Alignment of Community Resources
Cross-sector Collaboration, Access to Services
Innovative Effort to House the Homeless
Targeting the most vulnerable, partnering with
housing authority and landlords, coordinated
access and shared data tracking/reporting
Keep educating your
community about the
population being served,
the benefit to housing
them, the ways you can
work together, how all
can play a part in the
Find good landlords,
partner with housing
authorities and others to
create housing options.
Don’t wait for funding or
100% consensus to start.
Have patience as the
system develops.
Build trust and rapport
with your partners; make
sure you can deliver what
you promise and hold
them accountable for the
Believe you can make a
difference for those who
truly need a second
Initial funding and sustainability.
 Working with many different
organizations and agencies and meeting all
rules, regulations, and criteria while trying to
effect systems change.
 Complex issues clients face (no ID’s, criminal
convictions, addiction, mental health, language
barriers, serious health issues, more) can slow
down process.
 Prepare clients in crisis that the process may
take time (housing is not always immediate).
 The collaborative has housed over 150 of our region’s
most vulnerable homeless individuals and families.
95% of BHF households have remained stably housed
for 6 or more months.
We have seen a 42% drop in the rate of chronic
homelessness in the last two years.
In 2012, the collaborative received the National NAHRO
award for excellence for our efforts.
In 2013, Bridgeport was recognized by the 100,000
Homes Campaign as a member of the 2.5% club. This
distinction recognizes communities that house 2.5% of
their chronic population each month. Bridgeport is
currently housing at a 6.57% rate monthly!
Ongoing modification
and adaption of model
to best serve the
Continuous VI process
to capture all in need.
Staff training, hiring,
Program evaluation
and data analysis.
partnerships with
service providers,
funders, landlords,
Integration of services and
Demonstrate cost savings
and efficiencies to this
system change.
Prepare to adapt to
changes in healthcare
field, including health care
reform effects and future
Medicaid reimbursement.
Identify and secure
Why create a collaboration in your
Who will be your partners?
What other services will you need?
How will you target your efforts?
What resources can you leverage or attract to
get started?
What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
How will you sustain your efforts?
Thank you!
Contact us:
Carla Miklos, Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc.
[email protected]
Monica Geary, New Haven Home Recovery
[email protected]

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