The IHHP grants have many purposes. In addition to implementing innovative programs linking HIV housing assistance to medical care and other supports, grantees are expected to work at the community level to create integrated housing plans designed to improve the functioning and efficiency of the local HIV housing service delivery system. The community planning requirements were more prescriptive. Grantees had to develop and submit an integrated HIV housing plan that contained specific elements, including (1) a common vision or goal, (2) a list of planning team members, (3) a description of the community planning process, (4) an accounting of the systems changes planned to improve the delivery of housing and support services, (5) an assessment of the unmet housing and support service needs of the local HIV population, (6) an inventory of the local HIV service providers, and (7) a set of the outcomes expected from the community planning process. At the same time, the planning requirements were flexible, in terms of not prescribing how grantees were to go about the complex process of bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to jointly develop and implement a community-wide integrated housing and service plan. This flexibility recognized community-level differences in existing housing resources, planning structures, and relationships.
When we visited the IHHP grantees in May 2013, the four grantees had just finished writing and submitting their IHHP work plans. Some grantees were farther along than others in their planning, but all acknowledged that their top priority during the first year of the grant had been to get their programs up and running in order to maximize their programs’ enrollment. Some teams were also getting technical assistance from HUD to help with their community planning efforts.
The grantees discussed two common challenges in bringing disparate groups “to the table” to work together on the IHHPs. First, all four grantees had extensive experience with community planning, serving on numerous councils, task forces, provider networks, coalitions, and work groups, often acting as a link between homeless and HIV service groups. However, some of the CoC and RWP groups they worked with did not have a history of working together. Second, some IHHP grantees felt that HOPWA programs were historically marginalized in both CoC and RWP planning processes. Although RWP planning councils often identified housing as a high priority, few allocated funds for housing assistance on the assumption that HIV housing needs were already being addressed by HOPWA. Likewise, some CoCs also felt that because homeless PLWHA were already being served by HOPWA, there was no need to enroll them in CoC programs.
The IHHP grantees plan to use a variety of strategies to overcome these challenges and bring together groups from different sectors (public housing, homeless services, city planning, and HIV services) to create community-wide IHHP plans (see Table III.5).
- CARES plans to use its leverage as the lead “collaborative applicant” in six regional CoCs to roll up IHHP planning into a larger CoC planning process in which the six regional CoCs would develop integrated intake, assessment, and data systems.
- FPC plans to use its presence on state planning groups (on the state’s Balance of State CoC, and on statewide ADAP and RWP Part B advisory committees) and in community planning processes (assessing unmet HIV housing needs for the City of Portland’s Consolidated Plan and serving on Portland’s CoC) to create statewide collaboration supporting the development of community-based IHHPs.
- RRHS hired the Health Planning Council of NE Florida to conduct a regional health impact assessment of potential changes in housing, consolidated planning, and other community policies. RRHS plans to use this impact assessment process to start the IHHP planning process and to build stronger relationships among these groups.
- PBH and its S4H partners have a history of successful collaboration, and plan to use this collaborative approach to work with the RWP Part A planning council and with the City of Portland’s Consolidated and Action Planning process to create a local IHHP.
Table III.5. Integration of Community Planning
|.||RRHS FUSE||FPC Maine IHHP||PBH S4H||Albany CARES FFL|
|Community Plan||The project director will work with the FUSE planning team and other local stakeholders to develop the IHHP. The task will begin with a community health impact assessment conducted by the Health Policy Council of NE Florida.||FPC is active in state and local RWP and CoC planning efforts, and with housing authorities. As part of a statewide collaboration, the project will assist in developing a community model for an IHHP.||Site has a strong, active planning group, with larger systems-change efforts and CoC coordination. The group will develop the IHHP plan.||CARES will form a planning team to create IHHP’s implementation plan. CARES is not planning to create an IHHP-specific plan, but to roll IHHP planning up into a larger CoC planning process.|
Source: Discussions with program staff and document review conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, 2013.
CoC = Continuum of Care; HOPWA = Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS; IHHP = Integrated HIV/AIDS Housing Plan; RWP = Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.