What is FUSE?
We know that people who have a safe place to live are happier, healthier, and more productive members of society. They are also far less costly to the community. Frequent Users Systems Engagement, or FUSE, is a coordinated effort, funded by the State of Oregon’s Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA) funds, to break the cycle of housing instability for individuals with the most barriers to success and the highest use of Lane County’s public services, such as law enforcement, jails, and emergency medical services.
How does the program work?
Lane County Health and Human Services collected data from 18 agencies to create a list of unhoused adults who account for the greatest share of public costs. ShelterCare works with community partners and service organizations to find and engage with individuals on this list.
FUSE clients have likely been homeless for a long time. Most have criminal records, behavioral health challenges, untreated medical problems, or a combination of issues. Many have little trust in systems, offices, or programs, and have given up hope that they will ever get off the streets.
To build relationships, our staff invests a lot of time in listening to people, earning their trust, and learning about the barriers that stand in the way of change.
Getting “housing ready”
Once trust is earned and barriers are identified, housing navigators begin preparing clients for a move off the streets. We help them obtain documents such as ID cards or social security cards, connect them with resources such as food assistance or benefits programs, take them on housing searches, and coach clients on how to put their best foot forward with property managers. Once FUSE clients are housed, ShelterCare staff continues to provide assistance as needed.
An initial 98 individuals were identified by Lane County as possible participants in the FUSE program. On average, FUSE clients have been homeless for seven years. They self report the following physical and mental health conditions:
- 37% a mental health issue
- 12% alcohol abuse
- 14% both alcohol and drug abuse
- 29% a chronic health condition
- 23% a physical disability
In the first 12 months, 26 of these individuals were located and engaged in street outreach, of which:
- 11 have been housed
- 5 left the program for various reasons
- 10 are still engaged in outreach with the hope of being housed in the future
Costs and service use were measured pre- and post-program engagement for 16 program participants, who had at least 60 days of enrollment with Trillium Health Care before the start of the program. The initial data from this study demonstrated that:
- Overall costs decrease by 53%
- Emergency room use decreased by 26%
- Behavioral health care use decreased by 14%
Lane County evaluated data from the clients engaged in the FUSE program and found on average:
- Eugene Police Department arrests decreased by 82%
- Lane County Sheriff’s Office jail intakes decreased by 50%
- Eugene Municipal Court court citations decreased by 75%
Data collected by Trillium Community Health Plan and Lane County
Lane County Health & Human Services | Eugene Police Department | Eugene Municipal Court/Community Court | Eugene Springfield Fire and Emergency Services | Hourglass Community Crisis Center | Homes for Good | Lane County Sheriff’s Office | Laurel Hill Center| Senior & Disability Services | ShelterCare | Springfield Police Department | PeaceHealth | McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center | Willamette Family Treatment Services | White Bird | Trillium Community Health Plan | Lane Council of Governments | Public Safety Coordinating Council | Poverty & Homelessness Board