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Spotlight on Innovation: Linkages to Senior Housing

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week we're focusing on Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging (SCAAA), winner for their older adult homeless prevention program.

From 2016 to 2018, Linkages to Senior Housing, SCAAA's Senior Homeless Prevention Program, used a comprehensive case management model to stabilize housing for low-income older adults. The program included two social workers, a housing needs fund, money management services, two beds at an assisted living/residential care facility, shared housing services, rental assistance and housing vouchers.
 
The impetus for this program came from the overwhelming housing crisis that older adults in Sonoma County have been experiencing for several years due to the area's high cost of living and lack of affordable housing. Once it identified the need by working with the County Board of Supervisors, case management staff and the AAA Advisory Council's Housing Workgroup, SCAAA enlisted the support of various community partners—the Community Development Commission (for housing vouchers), a local assisted living facility (Mirabel Lodge), the local shared housing program at Petaluma People Services Center, the local homelessness coalition, Sonoma County Legal Aid (who helped with eviction prevention), Council on Aging (who provided a daily money manager), Adult Protective Services and a myriad of other community partners to develop the program. For those looking to implement a similar program, SCAAA recommends looking to the housing experts in your communities when developing the needed resources. 
 
In the program's first year, 71 percent of clients served saw a reduced risk of homelessness. Ten evictions were rescinded or avoided, nine clients received vouchers for permanent affordable housing, four clients were placed in SHARE rentals and three clients were sheltered at an assisted living facility. Additionally, 17 clients received Legal Aid advocacy and 26 clients received money management services to secure existing or new housing.
 
To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!

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