Oct. 1, 2022, marks the one-year anniversary of ABC (Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation) and HOM serving as the single statewide housing administrator of the AHCCCS Housing Program (AHP). Today, AHP serves approximately 2,400 households in three housing program models throughout Arizona: Scattered Sites (1,453 households), Community Living Program assistance (840 households), and Project Based Vouchers (PBV) at new affordable housing developments (74 households). ABC and HOM also administer approximately $1.2 million annually in eviction prevention and move-in assistance with AHP funding.
AHCCCS awarded ABC and HOM the contract Feb. 2, 2021, after which a transition period started immediately. AHCCCS, ABC, and HOM teams worked diligently over the subsequent nine months to gather information and data from the three Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs) and over 20 behavioral health agencies throughout the state that were previously administering the program.
In the year that ABC and HOM has served as the exclusive housing administrator, we have administered over $28 million in rental and eviction prevention assistance. We have done that by focusing on building relationships, policies, processes, reporting, and performance management for the program to ensure standardization of important housing program elements like eligibility, rent calculations, inspections, recertifications, and more. Through this centralization and standardization of housing program administration, we have driven transparency, efficiency, and cost savings in the system.
“The collaboration with ABC and AHCCCS has given us a great insight into how things are run outside of Maricopa County,” says Sharon Shore, current CPO (Chief Programs Officer) and founder of HOM, Inc., “Along with 31 housing providers across the state, we were able to work in partnership with several new housing operators, new case management systems, and so many new clients.” Muses Shore, “This project has been the biggest challenge that HOM has ever taken on, it’s been the biggest challenge for me personally in my almost 40-year career, but it has also been – by far – the most rewarding.”
We have come a long way since 2021. And we know we still have work to do. We will continue to refine program operations to ensure high quality housing program administration and positive outcomes for members, proprietors, support teams, and other stakeholders.
In year two, we will focus on collaboration with the health care system to enhance the delivery and coordination of supportive services for participants in the housing programs, so they continue to thrive in their communities. We will also focus on expanding housing opportunities through new housing program interventions and new relationships with providers of housing throughout the state.
Shore adds, “Housing programs are more than rental subsidies. They consist of the supportive services the participants want and need, regardless of their housing type. Housing is a three-legged stool – rental assistance, supportive services, and landlords. No matter the model of the housing assistance, without all three legs, the stool will topple.”