The H2 Initiative Peer Learning Community

Pamela Ralston

The National Alliance to End Homelessness Post Conference Session organizers invited initiative participants from communities receiving HUD technical assistance to present newly developed strategies to meet housing and healthcare needs for people who are homeless and those who are low income and living with HIV/AIDS. The H2 Initiative’s goal is to maximize care coverage for target populations and increase access to comprehensive healthcare and supportive services that can be coordinated with housing.

As the Opening Doors of Fairfield County (ODFC) CoC is a participant in the initiative, CoC representatives were invited to share activities underway since the action planning session took place in spring 2015. The peer learning session offered ODFC the chance to shed light on collaborative work underway that supports vulnerable populations with targeted strategies through the community care team meetings, conducting frequent user data matches across systems to demonstrate need for increased collaboration in identifying the most vulnerable, increased housing resource and matching meetings and other strategies developed to end chronic homelessness by the end of 2016, adding PSH inventory through HUD awards, and strategically aligning funding requests with the HEARTH and Opening Doors framework priorities to end homelessness.

Hearing information presented by other communities from across the nation was inspiring such as strategies in place to increase the health insurance coverage for homeless households, working with CoC leadership to develop new coordinated entry systems, and focusing on building new partnerships in Medicaid managed care states to create data match proposals for managed care organizations. For the remaining months of 2016, H2 Initiative remote assistance will continue, with additionally planned peer learning sessions to be announced, and a final H2 Report and Toolkit will be released by the end of the year.


Addressing health-related needs of people who are homeless or at-risk has long been recognized as a key component of efforts to prevent and end homelessness. Opening Doors, the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, identifies Improving Health and Stability as one of its five themes, and includes an objective calling for integration of primary and behavioral health care with housing and other homeless services.1 Likewise, HUD’s Strategic Plan includes a focus on improving health outcomes as part of its goal to Utilize Housing as a Platform for Improving Quality of Life.

Related Resources:

H2 Web Profiles
Description of each action planning session, emerging action plans, community specific resource guides, and Leadership Team contact information.
Resources including H2 Model Strategies Framework, Benefits Decoder, Housing and Related Services, and Housing and Healthcare Integration Planning Working Tools