To: Sonoma County Continuum of Care Membership and Board
From: Gerry La Londe-Berg
Date: February 22, 2021
Attached you will find the latest spreadsheet I did in preparation for the February 24 Continuum of Care (CoC) Board meeting. All of this is derived from the packet the CDC staff prepared. The master sheet contains all of the data which the staff presented in the Board packet in the multiple downloads (29 pages) that were associated.
Much appreciation for the obvious thorough and hard work of the Community Development Commission (CDC) staff, especially for the Staff Report by Chuck Mottern, Stephanie Hershberger, Suzanne Whipple, and Madoson Murray.
I think that past performance and accountability to contract standards (e.g. data entry) should be more heavily considered, rather than arbitrary across the board funding reductions. Programs that are too expensive or not performing should be accountable or not funded next to the programs which are succeeding. As you will derive, this is not always easy to discern.
I sincerely appreciate the new transparency and timeliness the CDC is providing to enable such careful preview by members of the CoC. I trust that all the participants and members of the Continuum of Care can move solutions forward.
The material presented in the attached Excel Spreadsheet includes the following tabs:
– Master Sheet
– Cost per Services in 2019-2020
– Allocations by Organization
***[Click HERE to access the Spreadsheet]***
The Excel spreadsheet goes far out to the right considering different categories and the different numbers that are shown. I left it as an excel spreadsheet rather than PDF so anyone can run their own analysis. Notably the columns J and K – percentage fiscal year 2020-2021 and fiscal year 2019-2020 percentages appear to be spending so far this year and how fast people are using this year’s allocation.
COST PER SERVICE 2019-2020
The second tab, cost per service for 2019 – 2020, uses only that full fiscal year reports because that is a full year with a full amount of data.
It lists the programs, the project names, and the project types as well as the various allocations specific to each program.
The other columns to the right are the ones that I derived which includes the cost per household and cost per individual – that is simply using the figures from column F the expenditures divided by the number of either households or individuals served. Similarly, the cost for housing and costs per income is using again the total allocation divided by the number of people housed or the number of people who had enhanced income. I think this then becomes an “apples to apples” comparison.
PROGRAMS BY PROJECT TYPE
I then sorted the programs by project type which enables a comparison of the performance of the various organizations who worked in each of those project types.
The highlighted figures in yellow are the highest figure in that section; so, for example, Catholic Charities family support at $1,715.69 is the highest per unit cost among households just for the ES category project type. Similarly COTS is the highest cost per individual but, ironically, Community Action Partnership with the cost of housing a single individual, five (5) in their case, came in at $15,000 per placement and the cost of getting people income was also the highest for Sloan House in the ES project type. It could be considered that Sloan House and YWCA actually house people in a longer term more formal relationship than Sam Jones Hall or Mary Isaak Center.
Both of the figures for homeless prevention as well as the summaries of each of those organizations shows that homeless prevention is a very expensive endeavor serving very few people. Particularly Catholic Charities outcomes were far more expensive than anyone else’s.
The category of “other” is not really comparative even within itself because the Community Action Partnership HCA fund’s is just administration costs, St. Vincent De Paul is homeless court, and SHARE Sonoma County is specifically housing people that does not exactly fit into the permanent supportive housing category.
A close look at permanent supportive housing shows that Reach for Home and Catholic Charities PSH Alternatives turned out to be extremely expensive for the individuals whom they served. Whereas the Palms Inn in full operation, as well as West County Community Services and to some extent Community Support Network are still within a range, although no projects do very well in producing income for their participants.
Notably SHARE Sonoma County is providing housing for far more individuals than the permanent supportive housing has provided for, despite similarities in housing approaches, and notably they are half as expensive.
Rapid Rehousing low performance figures should be compared to the targets set in contracts. I also wonder if it should be examined as to the rents they are paying and how long they are paying those rents for the individual served. Nevertheless, the TLC project jumps out far different than all of the others in being three times more expensive.
Street outreach apparently does not house people because although Reach for Home served a lot of people, they housed very few people. Similarly Social Advocates for Youth costs per unit served are highest in that category. Cost per individual Catholic Charities HOST team is also at the higher end of costs compared to Catholic Charities Homeless Service Center and Reach for Home.
It is important to realize that none of these figures speak directly to some of what the services are. These are the best comparators we have. There are no other figures available that can compare the performance of individual programs in a convenient way which have been provided by the Continuum of Care/CDC staff.
ALLOCATION BY ORGANIZATIONS
This tab allows us to compare the amount of funds that organizations have gotten from the 2017-2018 year up until the 2021-2022 proposal.
It shows that Catholic Charities in 2017-2018 dominated everything with 66% of the funds reported, however, subsequent years Catholic Charities has hovered around 35% of that grand total of the allocations. In 2021-2022, the allocation is just over $4 million.
These figures indicate that COTS has steadily increased their proportion from 11% up to about 16% now.
The Interfaith Shelter network had its highest proportion 6.23% in fiscal year 2019 –2020.
Reach for Home has consistently been about 4.9% in the three years recorded.
Social Advocates for Youth also had its high year in fiscal year 2019-2020 when they were about 7.9% but now are right around 6%.
West County Community Services had a very special allocation in fiscal year 2018 – 2019 when they accounted for 42% of the allocations but that has settled down to about 13 ½% over the last two years.
Finally it is notable that the YWCA has been consistently low and is now at less than 1% but if you look on the previous tab their cost per service unit is very effective and therefore worth considering.
In conclusion, it would be very important to consider the costs and limited performance of all of the Rapid Rehousing Programs. It would be important also to target how much each individual is receiving so that the costs can be consistent rather than ranging from $3,500 up to $7,500 even in the normal range not counting whatever TLC is doing.
Similarly, Homelessness Prevention is a very expensive proposition and reading the individual descriptions of each of those programs should lead to some discussion that funds could be spent in another way. It is a not well understood category, and the agencies doing it do not appear to have a very clear sense of what they’re trying to do.