“FUSE helps communities break the cycle of homelessness and crisis among individuals with complex medical and behavioral health challenges who are the highest users of emergency rooms, jails, shelters, clinics and other costly crisis services. Residents are provided affordable housing with wraparound support services, which stabilizes their lives and significantly reduces returns to jail and homelessness, reliance on emergency health services, and improves overall quality of life.”
The Grand Rapids Frequent Users Systems Engagement (FUSE) initiative began with a community-wide kickoff meeting in January 2020, the largest kickoff Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) has ever seen with over 70 community members in attendance. Designated work groups began meeting the first week of March, only completing a few meetings before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the work groups to take a break for partners to redirect their attention. While the work groups were on a brief meeting pause for the summer months, Dwelling Place and CSH worked together creating a structure for engagement that would allow work groups to work efficiently when they were able to meet again. Staying in touch with state partners, remaining apprised of pertinent community initiatives, and connecting one-on-one with local partners kept the initiative moving forward behind the scenes. The Core Stakeholders and Data work groups were able to begin meeting again during the autumn of 2020 and have been moving quickly through CSH’s FUSE planning steps in the wake of an intensified housing crisis due to COVID-19. Below these steps are illustrated, as well as the work groups’ accomplishments, upcoming goals and next steps. The work groups are implementing multiple steps at once, the furthest out being Step 6, ‘Create Referral Process.’
FUSE Action Planning Steps
Step 1: Identify a champion and project manager
- Dwelling Place has taken on the role of project manager, hiring a FUSE Coordinator full time through May 2022 to organize meetings, engage stakeholders, and stay connected to parallel community initiatives.
Step 2: Assemble a cross systems planning team
- Three work groups have been created based on an interest survey sent to all partners after the Kickoff meeting: Core Stakeholders, Data and Implementation.
- Core Stakeholders and Data work groups reconvened after the break in meetings, and new members have been added as more community connections have been made.
- Next Steps
- In the CSH FUSE structure, the Implementation work group typically begins meeting 3-6 months ahead of the anticipated project implementation. This group began meeting in January 2021.
Step 3: Execute a cross-systems data match
- MDHHS has executed an initial data match for Kent County, looking at Medicaid claims against Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data.
- CSH and MDHHS have provided data sharing agreement examples for the Data work group to reference while creating a local data sharing agreement.
- Next Steps
- MDHHS will provide a complete data snapshot to the Data work group to identify thresholds to address specific to this community.
- A more robust data match will be executed in addition to the initial MDHHS data match, including EMS and law enforcement data, making Kent County the first to do this in Michigan.
- A data sharing agreement specific to Grand Rapids FUSE will be created based on local and national examples.
Step 4: Create a supportive housing pipeline
- Current housing partners include Dwelling Place, Genesis NPHC and Community Rebuilders. Service partners include GVSU Family Health Center, Network180 and Pine Rest.
- Dwelling Place has agreed to prioritize FUSE clients in its supportive housing properties, with services specific to FUSE clients being provided by GVSU Family Health Center through a recent HRSA grant.
- Next Steps
- The core group of housing and service providers will meet to coordinate services across properties and bring in other local housing and service providers as awareness and interest in this initiative grow.
Step 5: Secure evaluation resources
- Just as an entity is needed to conduct the extended data match, an entity is needed to coordinate an evaluation component for the FUSE initiative. Sometimes one entity performs both, and sometimes the processes are separate. The Data work group will work with CSH to select an entity to perform the evaluation.
Step 6: Create referral process
- The participating permanent supportive housing providers accept referrals through Kent County’s Continuum of Care (CoC). In order to maintain this process, the local CoC and its Coordinated Entry Committee are working on a dynamic prioritization process to ensure prioritization of FUSE clients to participating partners.
Steps 7-10 are upcoming goals for the Grand Rapids FUSE work groups.
Work group participating organizations: Dwelling Place, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Hope Network, Salvation Army HAP, Cherry Health, GVSU Family Health Center & Kirkhof College of Nursing, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Network180, Women’s Resource Center, Kent County Health Department, Kent County Continuum of Care, Community Rebuilders, Degage, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Genesis NPHC, TANDEM365, LIFE EMS, Pine Rest, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Research & Evaluation Associates, Grand Rapids Fire Department, Grand Rapids Police Department, Kent County Community Corrections, American Medical Response, United Church Outreach Ministry, Mel Trotter, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Grand Rapids Homeless Outreach Team
For more information or for questions regarding FUSE updates and implementation contact Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org