Ramsey County community partners announce formation of RUSH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Public-private partnership looks to find stable housing for the homeless
Cross-sector collaboration includes
private, government, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors

Contact: Therese Gales, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
therese.gales@cctwincities.org; 612-221-5161

Saint Paul, Minn. (April 11, 2017) – A group of Ramsey County community partners has announced the formation and work of RUSH – a collaborative group comprised of public and private organizations looking to support individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. “Re-directing Users of Shelter to Housing” (RUSH) aims to move all frequent users of emergency shelters into stable housing.

“Eliminating homelessness is a winnable battle, but it requires us to understand the root causes, individual circumstances, and systems barriers that prevent every individual from having stable housing,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough, a member of the RUSH Governance Team.

This cross-sector collaboration includes representation from Ramsey County, the City of Saint Paul, The Saint Paul Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Regions Hospital, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Guild Incorporated, Radias Health, People Incorporated, Union Gospel Mission and Listening House.

Helping people who have experienced chronic homelessness move into stable housing enables emergency shelters to function more efficiently as the short-term service they are meant to be, freeing up shelter space for those in need of emergency housing. This innovative and individualized approach has also been proven to reduce costs through lower emergency room visits and fewer interactions with the criminal justice system.

“It is critical for our city to help our residents while also being good stewards of the resources we are given,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “By personally engaging with those in our community who have been homeless for long periods of time, or those who face multiple barriers to finding a home, we are more effectively working towards solving the complex issue of homelessness in our community.”

RUSH Background, Model and Early Outcomes
Part of the solution to reducing long-term use of emergency shelter is the physical expansion of housing options such as Catholic Charities’ Higher Ground Saint Paul, which includes 193 units of permanent housing. To date, 28 of the top 100 users at Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day Center have moved into housing at Catholic Charities’ new Higher Ground Saint Paul facility, where they are able to access additional services to help them move up and out of homelessness.

Another part of the solution focuses on the individualized attention needed to help develop an approach to housing that makes sense for each client. Two case managers have been hired through the philanthropic support of The Saint Paul Foundation and F. R. Bigelow Foundation. Their job is to engage the most frequent long-term shelter users and develop plans to find and maintain housing based on clients’ personal needs and circumstances. In conjunction with partner agencies, case managers will work to find key services and the best options to move to stable housing.

“We have seen firsthand the impact of multiple interactions with each client and how critical personal relationships and trust are as we’ve moved many of our most vulnerable clients from the floor of the Dorothy Day Center into a home of their own in Higher Ground Saint Paul,” said Tim Marx, President and CEO of Catholic Charities. “Some of these people have been without a home for 30 years or more. This combination of dedicated, personal outreach and available housing resources has been key.”

RUSH is based on a successful model started in 2012 in Hennepin County, the Top 51 Pilot program. In this two-and-a-half-year pilot, the top 20 shelter users experienced a 43 percent decline in arrests, 76 percent decline in emergency room use and $70,000 in avoidable costs for health care. RUSH hopes to see similar outcomes as the program gains traction and becomes more established.

While RUSH offers promise, and is off to a strong start, it is only one piece of multifaceted efforts to address the complexities of homelessness in Ramsey County.

“Addressing a complex issue, like homelessness, requires a multifaceted approach. Through collaboration, we leverage the strengths that philanthropy, government, the private sector, and nonprofits have to offer our community. This brings together wisdom and experience from diverse perspectives toward a shared goal of building community strength,” said Dr. Eric Jolly, President and CEO of The Saint Paul Foundation.

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