Community Bridge: Prototyping an innovation in preventing homelessness

The Bissell Centre has been working for over a year on a new prototype that aims to prevent homelessness by rapidly responding to imminent evictions. The Community Bridge provides interventions and services to ensure that causes of eviction are effectively addressed in order to ward off re-occurrence. The Community Bridge has a multitude of interventions at their disposal one of them being funds that can be accessed to pay delinquent rent, utilities or other costs that, if not addressed, will cause eviction. When an individual or family becomes homeless they instantly face a myriad of challenges that makes it even more difficult to move out of poverty. That is why the Community Bridge is open to directing funds to anything that will stop the individual or family from becoming homeless.

Program Learnings:

  • 84% still housed after 3 months
  • 30% to 40% of cases don’t require monetary funds
  • Teaching systems navigation to other service providers helps increase eviction prevention.
  • Often, bridge funding is all it takes to stabilize a family or individual
  • Social return on investment is 3:1

 

PETER’S STORY

By helping Peter avoid eviction, his life improved significantly and the SROI was significant. He received $1,200 in bridge funding, which he is paying back.

Here is what happened.

  • He avoided losing his housing.
  • He avoided being sent back to prison for one year (being housed was a condition of his parole).
  • He avoided losing his job.
  • He avoided losing out on reuniting with his family.

We estimate there is a cost to landlords when someone is “evicted” or loses their housing for a specific reason. That cost can be as much as $2,500. Had he lost his job, he would no longer be paying taxes. The most substantive cost avoidance in this instance is that he was not sent back to prison. Federal prison costs $100,000 per year.

For more information on this program please visit http://www.bissellcentre.org/individual/housing-services/