Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
February 1-7, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus
I. Can Trauma Informed Care Lead to Big US Health Savings?
- Evidence suggests childhood trauma victims are more likely to have chronic health problems because of a statistical likelihood of engaging in riskier behavior. The Trauma Informed Primary Care project, being conducted by the National Council for Behavioral Health, is leading 14 community health centers that are acting as laboratories to see if screening and then treating people for trauma can improve results from treatment for their chronic health conditions like diabetes. http://goo.gl/MCUoTT
- This has implications for our work as a local organization Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has 25 people with diabetes that are part of this innovative program. The main goal is to help people lead healthier, happier lives but there is a potential positive financial side effect by keeping high frequency users out of ERs, detox facilities and jail, making it a potential Social Impact Bond project. Further, it aims to treat the whole person to leverage results and resources.
II. Denver City Council seeks to Elevate Homelessness with New Committee
- Denver City Council to create a new ad hoc committee to examine solutions to homelessness, including funding. This follows Council approval of a Social Impact Bond deal addressing 250 chronically homeless individuals on January 25, 2016 and an all-council retreat in December 2015 focused on this topic. Further, an announcement of a $150M, 10-yerr affordable housing initiative is expected soon; demonstrating great momentum on this issue http://goo.gl/s4K92q
- The City will spend ~$48M this year on programs and services for the homeless across 13 departments and agencies. This is the latest evidence of their recent activity to elevate this issue and spark wide-ranging discussion that many community stakeholders and partners will have a great deal to contribute towards.
III. Waste Service Grant from NFESH; Reduce Food Waste, Costs and Expand Services
- The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) announced their Request for Applications (RFA) for What a Waste Service Grants. Award winners get ~$35,000 to set up a program that is essentially 5 steps; 1. They bring technology into the kitchen to weigh food & how much is throw out, 2. They develop a waste reduction plan, 3. They implement the plan, 4. Composting training and waste sorting, 5. Use the waste to garden – creating not just good food, increasing food security, aiding community integration, aiding mental health but also reducing food waste. http://goo.gl/HK5rWE
- 40% of food produced in the US is never eaten yet 46 million Americans suffer from food insecurity of which 9 million, and growing, are seniors. There is great value in discussion and planning goals but the rubber hits the road when we can weigh tangible benefits.
BONUS: Turning Plastic Waste Into Affordable Housing to Fight Poverty
- Based in Puebla, Mexico Eco Domum, or Eco Home, and its founder Carlos Daniel Gonzalez collects sorts and melts down non-toxic plastics into a liquid that can be hydraulically pressed into building panels for construction of affordable homes. It takes two tons of plastic to make one 430-460 sq. ft. home, which contains a living room, 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Each one requires 80 panels and 7 days to build; the plant produces ~120 panels per day. They cost 5,000 pesos or $273, making them affordable to the working poor population. http://goo.gl/PxJofV
- This tale from the field shows ideas that emerge from necessity, a crushing amount of plastic waste in this case, are often the most innovative solutions. Further, there is nothing that says we can only consider local solutions; Eco Domum hopes to expand out of Mexico in next 3 to 5 years.