2019 Strategic Grant
Legal-name: Interval House
Address: 6615 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 170
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Carol A. Williams, Executive Director
First-name: Carol A. Williams
Title: Executive Director
Textarea-499: Support from the Long Beach Community Foundation will provide critical flexible funding for Interval House’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program, in alignment with evidence-based Housing First principles, to address the individualized needs of at-risk and homeless persons and improve housing stability outcomes in Long Beach.
What-is-project: Interval House (IH) is seeking flexible short-term financial assistance, in alignment with Housing First principles, to support our highly successful Homelessness Prevention (HP) and Rapid Rehousing Programs (RRH) in Long Beach. IH is the lead agency and LARGEST provider of rental assistance programming in Long Beach, with city contracts this past year alone totaling $1,055,234 (IH has been the sole provider of City ESG rental assistance funds since 2012; sole provider of Long Beach State ESG funds for HP and RRH; and an exclusive provider of Measure H RRH and HP funds, reflecting our strong partnership with the City of Long Beach and their trust in IH’s programming and leadership).
While the City of Long Beach has experienced a decrease in overall homelessness in recent years, the stark reality remains that 65% of the 1,863 homeless persons in the community are unsheltered on any given night (2017 Biennial Homeless Count). We have critical gaps in attending to the needs of single homeless adults—many who suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues—as well as domestic violence victims, transitional age youth, and elderly homeless populations.
The proposed project will specifically address the unique needs faced by those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. All too often, society views the homeless population as faceless statistics. But behind each number is a person with unique personal experiences that led them to where they are and with individualized needs that may not align with one-size-fits-all solutions. IH is particularly conversant in the types of resources that have proven effective in helping individuals obtain and maintain stable housing. For instance, urgent but manageable needs that remain unresolved can rapidly escalate into overwhelming hardships that result in homelessness. Examples include: moving expenses, storage fees, security deposits, rent/rental arrears, car repairs, medical bills, child care, school tuition, job training, transportation, etc. The provision of flexible short-term financial assistance to support such needs can be the difference between an individual remaining in their home or life on the streets.
Our proposed approach is an emerging best practice and is reinforced by studies that show flexible funding as one of THE MOST effective strategies in the multi-pronged approach to ending homelessness. An evaluation of a flexible funding program in Washington, DC found that this low-cost emergency intervention increased housing stability outcomes: 94% of clients obtained housing 6 months after receiving funds (Sullivan, Bomsta, Hacskaylo, 2016).
By not only assisting individuals in obtaining housing, but also addressing the unique needs of each person and recognizing that these needs may be resolved with short-term flexible financial assistance, this holistic approach will be KEY to helping individuals achieve housing stability.
How-will-you-succeed: One of the unique aspects of Interval House (IH) is our longstanding commitment to working hand-in-hand with clients to help them navigate and access housing, social, and financial systems whenever and wherever needed. Because services are flexible and client-driven, success may look very different from one participant to another. Success for one participant may be the ability to apply flexible funds toward car repairs, which enables them to commute to work and maintain income to afford monthly rent payments at their new apartment secured through our rapid rehousing program. Success for another participant may be avoiding eviction by utilizing flexible funds to clear an unpaid medical debt that was preventing them from catching up with their rent payments. Ultimately, averting and/or exiting homelessness through housing retention is the main indicator of program success.
IH will evaluate the effectiveness of our program by measuring participant progress from intake to exit. Examples of tools utilized to document progress include: Client Intake and Exit Forms for baseline measures and progress assessments, Individualized Service Plan for documentation of achievements towards goals, Goal Worksheet for documentation of met objectives, and HMIS/Data reports for client and program level assessments. Individualized Service Plan and Goal Worksheets are developed for every person at intake and reviewed with case managers on a monthly basis. While programs are individualized, the common aim for all clients is to work toward safety and self-sufficiency to become economically independent and remain stably housed. Management staff evaluate the program on a weekly basis by reviewing and discussing program performance data, including: (1) monthly client data tracking, e.g., placement into permanent housing, increase in income, length of stay in homelessness, etc.; (2) input from program staff; and (3) client surveys. After housing placement, participants have access to housing stability services through planned monthly follow-up services for an average of six months to provide additional advocacy and support as needed.
We are continuously exploring partnerships with private and public entities to sustain our homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing programs as we pursue a common goal of solving the burgeoning housing and homelessness crises. IH will continue to seek program support through government contracts, private sector grants, and individual donors in the community (via annual appeal letters, annual golf tournament, annual travel auction, etc.). We are eager to share program successes to generate additional support and plan to communicate results with interested funders, partnering service providers, and community leaders and stakeholders through various avenues, including at Long Beach CoC/CES meetings, community meetings, site visits, agency website, annual fundraising campaigns, and more.
Who-are-you: Cited by HUD as “model” best practice housing program, Interval House (IH) was founded in 1979 and today is celebrating our 40th anniversary as a foremost leader in pioneering housing programs in an unprecedented 70 languages, specializing in the highest-barrier households facing the most challenging cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic barriers to safety and housing stability.
As a five-time Presidential Award-winning program and the nation’s first and only survivor-led program, IH’s history reveals the powerfully dramatic story of an unprecedented program philosophy of inclusion and empowerment. Key IH staff average a remarkable 30 years in the housing, homelessness, and domestic violence fields, and 98% are multilingual, culturally diverse and have been personally affected by homelessness and violence. IH is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors and the daily operations are overseen by its Executive Director, who has been instrumental in developing and expanding the agency since 1979. She had had the unique distinction of being appointed by four different California Governors to serve on the statewide Governor’s Advisory Council for an unprecedented number of terms (consecutively since 1995), where she played an influential role in shaping State policies to support housing programs and enhance services for undeserved communities.
IH provides a complete continuum of comprehensive housing (emergency shelters, transitional housing, rapid rehousing, homelessness prevention). In conjunction with housing services, we provide a full range of flexible client-driven, trauma-informed supportive services to promote long-term safety, stability, and self-sufficiency, including: case management, counseling, legal assistance, employment services, educational support, financial assistance, life skills training, transportation, child care, community outreach, and aftercare services in over 70 languages. Since 1979, IH has housed over 20,000 people, counseled over 800,000 people, and reached millions more through nationally acclaimed education programs. We maintain an extensive and active resource/referral list of 160+ partnering service providers (e.g., hospitals, law enforcement agencies, schools/universities, employment partners, legal providers, etc.) to promote coordinated care and enhanced services for homeless and at-risk community members.
IH is well-positioned to provide effective housing and homeless services for Long Beach. IH is the largest provider of rental assistance in Long Beach, with city contracts this past year totaling $1,055,234, reflecting our strong partnership with the City and their trust in IH’s expertise. IH is active in the Long Beach CoC and works closely with the Multi-Service Center to coordinate referrals and lead service provider trainings; we are the exclusive charity of the Apartment Association, CA Southern Cities; and we have decades of experience in relationship building with landlords and property managers.