Preventive vs. Remedial Screening Tools The Economic Roundtable has developed five predictive screening tools to identify and prioritize high-need homeless individuals who will have high future public costs because of ongoing crises in their lives that are resolved in expensive institutional settings, including jails and hospitals.
In major U.S. metropolitan areas, the number of long-term homeless needing housing far exceeds the available housing supply, making it difficult to move persistently homeless individuals off of the streets. One of the most promising approaches to reducing these numbers lies in early identification and quick, effective intervention to help those most likely to become persistently homeless. Two new screening tools from the Economic Roundtable can help the most vulnerable people get access to the public services they need as soon as they become homeless, or even before they are homeless, and reduce the flow of people into chronic homelessness.
This streamlined triage tool was developed for the Santa Clara County Center for Population Health Improvement (CPHI). It provides an empirical tool for prioritizing patients for permanent supportive housing using close-to-real-time data that is available to CPHI. In addition, an industry-wide switch in medical diagnostic classification systems necessitated a conversion of all diagnostic variables from the ICD-9 classification system to the ICD-10 system.
Why the Silicon Valley Triage Tool is Important: The number of homeless people needing housing far exceeds the available housing supply, and there is not a fair, objective system for prioritizing who gets to be housed. The triage tool addresses this problem by identifying individuals for whom the solution of housing costs less than the problem of homelessness.
The central question investigated in this study is the public costs for people in supportive housing compared to similar people that are homeless. The typical public cost for residents in supportive housing is $605 a month. The typical public cost for similar homeless persons is $2,897, five-times greater than their counterparts that are housed. This remarkable finding demonstrates that practical, tangible public benefits result from providing supportive housing for vulnerable homeless individuals. The stabilizing effect of housing plus supportive care is demonstrated by a 79 percent reduction in public costs for these residents.