Interview with Dr. Marcella Maguire, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health

Housing 1000 had the chance to interview Dr. Marcella Maguire from the 100K Homes Campaign calendar recently.  Dr. Marcella Maguire, is Director of Homeless Services for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health.  You can also view the full calendar with twelve months of amazing innovations including a month dedicated to Housing 1000.

Dr. Maguire is determined to help Mayor Michael Nutter achieve his goal of making Philadelphia the first city in America to end homelessness!  Philadelphia is doing amazing work in targeting Section 8 vouchers in ending chronic homelessness.  Marcella is a key force behind this initiative!

Dr. Marcella Maguire, Director of Homeless Services, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health

Spotlight on Solutions: Philadelphia

Housing Choice vouchers are one of the most powerful resources our nation has in the effort to end long-term street homelessness, but in many places, homeless people struggle to access them. Philadelphia’s Blueprint to End Homelessness is pioneering a smart, multi-sector effort to better utilize Housing Choice vouchers to permanently end street homelessness.

In 2008, Mayor Michael Nutter demonstrated his deep commitment to ending and preventing homelessness by directing the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) to dedicate 200 Housing Choice vouchers per year to individuals experiencing long-term street homelessness. This annual 200 voucher commitment combines PHA vouchers with Medicaid-funded case management resources, effectively leveraging two critical, mainstream funding streams in the fight to end homelessness. The program is a win for service providers because it helps them pay for housing, but it is also a big win for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which can now outsource the retention and case management of formerly homeless tenants to experienced, well-funded local service providers. With a 93% success rate to date, the program has already helped 700 Philadelphians move into permanent supportive housing. It has also helped to strengthen relationships across city/county agencies, streamline data collection efforts, and create an effective housing pipeline for formerly homeless individuals who may not have been able to secure housing previously.

This innovative national model represents a bold political commitment to improving systems of care for formerly homeless individuals, ensuring clients have the most appropriate resources for their individual needs, and making smart, targeted use of Housing Choice vouchers.

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