The Passages Program is an Austin collaboration of five organizations who coordinate housing and supportive services for homeless families and single adults. As lead grantee, The Salvation Army subcontracts funds to Caritas of Austin, Foundation for the Homeless, LifeWorks and SafePlace. A sixth partner, Foundation Communities, does not share HUD Supportive Housing funds but coordinates affordable housing with the collaboration. Passages offers up to 18 months of case management to participants utilizing transitional housing-OR-6 to 12 months for those going straight from shelter to permanent housing. The program also offers supportive services, i.e. subsidized child care, life skills training, financial assistance and mental health/substance abuse counseling. The project serves 800-900 homeless persons per year. Those who participate for at least two months have a permanent housing success rate of 81%.
1. Outreach – Applicants are referred by the team of nine case managers based at the major emergency shelter and street outreach programs.
2. Intake – Partner organizations share an application/screening/group orientation and mental health/substance abuse assessment. Applicants are assessed to determine their strengths and barriers to obtain housing, increase skills and income, and address personal stability issues.
3. Case Management – Target populations are families with children, victims of domestic violence, youth (18-25) single men and women (veterans, disabled and chronically homeless). Participants develop a self-sufficiency plan to exit shelter and obtain housing that includes Passages Supportive Services (child care, financial assistance with housing and employment costs, life skills classes, and counseling provided by licensed professionals). It also includes a plan to increase income and a household budget.
4. Housing – Transitional housing (80 units) is funded by the City of Austin through Tenant Based Rental Assistance. Clients can remain in their unit or move to other permanent housing after subsidy ends. Clients who move directly from shelter to permanent housing receive financial assistance with housing start-up and six months of follow-up case management.
5. Outcomes – Tracking is consolidated into one database for annual performance reporting. Other measures tracked for those permanently housed include retention (84%), employment goals (86%), decreased dependence on public assistance (85%), increased income or upgraded employment (58%), clients linked to mainstream services (95%), continued child care plan (89%).
6. Funding – The collaboration has been renewed for its 14th year with HUD funding of $538,081. Other funders include the City of Austin, The Religious Coalition to Assist the Homeless and the partner agencies. The funding request for ’09-’10 was reduced by 27% to reallocate funding for other permanent housing.