I’m sure by now you’ve seen the news about my plans to step down. I think we (MSC) even titled it “Big News.” Maybe it is, but I’d like to share some BIGGER NEWS. Before the end of February, MSC will be releasing our first Diversion evaluation report to the community. Diversion is a best practice that keeps people experiencing homelessness from having to spend a single night in emergency shelter by helping them find more appropriate alternatives, including family reunification. The social and economic costs of keeping people out of the emergency shelter system is tremendous, not only for that person or family, but also for the health of the community.
Let me offer you a first look into our upcoming report. In an 8-month period in 2015, MSC diverted 109 people, which was 11% of the total number of people seeking emergency shelter during those same months. More than a month after being diverted, we checked in with a sample set of the people and 96% told us they were doing ok and not in need of emergency shelter! Our cost to divert someone from emergency shelter compares to less than 3 weeks in our emergency shelter and is about half the cost that other programs around the country are anticipating as they launch diversion efforts. It is MSC’s goal to successfully divert 20% of those seeking emergency shelter by the end of 2018 and early results indicate we’re already halfway to that goal.
So, while the news may be about me for a minute, the real story is how MSC continues to work hard every day helping people end their homeless experience in ways that are best for those we serve and the community in which we all live. Kudos to our team for staying focused and kudos to those we serve for persevering.