With the goal of expanding access to affordable housing using existing community resources, Sioux Falls Thrive’s Housing Action Team (HAT) developed an innovative pilot. It’s called OneRoof.
This past February, with the first families having graduated from the program, Thrive asked Augustana Research Institute to evaluate OneRoof based on the performance indicators HAT set when it envisioned the pilot.
And the results are in!
OneRoof encouraged private market landlords to accept at-risk tenants — families encumbered by credit problems, a criminal background, or a poor rental history. To buffer landlords from loss, tenants agreed to work with a case manager, and, if things went awry, the property owner could be reimbursed for damages or unpaid rent.
The Community Outreach, lead agency for the pilot, surveyed prospective tenants before assigning them to a Genesis Mentoring Program coach. Families entering the program were assessed for hardship issues that included housing stability, food security, income, and access to healthcare and transportation. Tenants completed the same survey when they left the program.
OneRoof Families Making Gains
Dr. Suzanne Smith, Director of the Augustana Research Institute who conducted the evaluation, said that of the 17 families who have entered OneRoof to date, five successfully completed the program and five withdrew.
“That’s a pretty small sample size,” Smith said. While no statistical significance can be drawn, the five families who completed the program made gains across all hardship indicators.
Obviously, I’m biased, but I think it’s a huge success. 2020 was a pandemic year. At least 90% of the families I worked with had some type of job loss or employment change. Just knowing that those families were homeless and are currently housed because of one program is a success in itself.
The pandemic also affected Augustana’s ability to assess how well school-age children fared as a result of the pilot. Family hardship and not having a stable home are known to have a negative impact on school attendance and achievement.
With public schools closed for the last quarter of the year, robust attendance data weren’t available.
“Thrive’s Housing Action Team plans to continue tracking the OneRoof program,” said Candy Hanson, Thrive’s founding executive. She cites OneRoof as a perfect example of Thrive’s commitment to realigning existing community resources to better serve families who stand in need.
“The Community Outreach deserves a ton of credit for running with the OneRoof pilot, but it took a village to make it work,” Hanson said.
- Helpline Center’s Network of Care provided technical support
- Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership shared assets held in its rent and damage repair fund
- The CARE Team, a multi-agency collaborative led by Minnehaha County Human Services, helped to identify potential OneRoof families
“We’re grateful for all of the agencies that contributed to OneRoof’s success. There are 1,100 school-age children who are virtually homeless at some point during the school year. Collaboration is key to closing that gap,” Hanson said.