CHIP unveils 5-year strategy to slash homelessness in Indianapolis

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The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention on Thursday unveiled a multi-pronged plan that calls for drastically reducing the length of time anyone in Indianapolis spends without a safe place to live by increasing affordable housing and supportive services.

The “Indianapolis Community Plan to End Homelessness 2018-2023” suggests systemic and cooperative reforms in housing and services that are intended to severely reduce the prevalence of homelessness.

Studies find that as many as 1,600 people a night experience homelessness in Indianapolis, meaning they are sleeping in temporary quarters, transitional housing or on the street. It typically takes 86 days for people in that situation to find permanent housing.

“The goal of the five-year plan is that by 2023, any individual or family in Indianapolis who become homeless will spend no more than 30 days without a permanent, safe, affordable place to live,” the plan says.

To reach that goal, the 32-page plan calls for adding at least 1,110 permanent supportive housing units to the city—more than double the existing number of 963 units—over the next five years. It also suggests adding 690 rapid rehousing subsidy slots to the existing number of 654.

“As a city, our approach to ending homelessness can no longer stop with simply providing temporary shelter or transitional housing,” Alan Witchey, executive director at CHIP, said in written remarks. “We must increase affordable housing and supportive services so that the most vulnerable members of our community have a place to call home.”

In addition to adding more places for people to live, the plan calls for improving the crisis-response system so that people facing homeless can receive help faster.

The next step involves expanding and improving services that prevent people from returning to homelessness after they’ve found a solution. “By 2023, the goal is to ensure 92 percent of formerly homeless individuals and families remain housed after two years,” the plan says.

The plan also calls for better coordination between groups and systems that work to prevent homelessness. Doing so will involve additional funding for Indianapolis Continuum of Care, a community-based coalition that is building a system to provide housing and services.

“We believe that homelessness can and must be solved in Indianapolis and we know that by coming together as one community–faith leaders, business professionals, social services professionals, public servants, and individual citizens–we can prioritize our resources to do just that,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said in written comments about the plan.

The plan also identifies four specific populations that experience the highest rates of homelessness: 1, the chronically homeless; 2, veterans; 3, youth and young adults; and 4, families.

Those four groups will each receive separate operational plans that include specific strategies.

CHIP said the plan was developed with help from 400 individuals representing 82 unique organizations, with at least 170 people who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness.

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