Dr. Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, associate professor in the COPH Department of Epidemiology, and Ms. Erin Bock, assistant director of the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) will co-lead this project.
The UNMC COPH will partner with the MACCH to conduct a cost study to understand the impact of permanent housing initiatives on community and public systems such as hospitals, detoxification centers, correctional facilities, and mental health institutions. This will assist in the identification of characteristics of the homeless associated with high health care use.
The project will be implemented by a work group of MACCH representatives who will recruit homeless adults to participate in the research. Erin Bock, assistant director of MACCH says, “Recent successes in housing people who are most vulnerable show us that ending homelessness is possible in Omaha. The results of this cost study will further our progression towards a solution-focused system of care.” “We know that in communities across the country, vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness tend to have frequent interactions with hospitals and other community systems. Laura Peet-Erkes from Alegent+Creighton who is a member of the study team states, “It’s so important for us to be able to know what that looks like here in Omaha and how we as community partners can continue to work to ensure that individuals are getting the care and services that they need. It’s not just about reducing costs for health care facilities, it’s about human dignity and providing the right kind of care to people who need it.”