December 13, 2016 – Rob Butters, assistant professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work and director of the Utah Criminal Justice Center (UCJC), and the UCJC team has been selected to be the primary investigator on two six-year randomized control trials (RCTs) evaluating two innovative new programs in Salt Lake County. The total funding for the projects is $11.5 million – $5.95 million for the criminal justice Recovery, Engagement, Assessment, Career, and Housing (REACH) Program, and $5.5 million for the homelessness Homes Not Jail (HNJ) Program. UCJC’s research budget is approximately $1.3 million, with $700,000 for the criminal justice evaluation and $600,000 for the homelessness evaluation. UCJC is the first independent evaluator in the nation to be selected to evaluate two Pay for Success (PFS) programs.
These programs are part of Salt Lake County’s Pay for Success Initiative that leverages private dollars from banks and philanthropic organizations to fund social service programs. As a result of this effort, more than 500 of the county’s most vulnerable residents will receive highly-targeted, innovative services never before available in Salt Lake County.
First Step House’s evidence-based REACH program will serve over 225 high-risk, high-need criminal offenders with tailored, evidence-based therapies to address criminogenic risks tied to recidivism, substance abuse and mental health services, short-term housing support, and case management for employment and educational needs.
The Road Home’s evidence-based Homes Not Jail program will provide 315 persistently homeless individuals with rapid re-housing services including move-in support, time-limited rental assistance, roommate matching for peer support and cost efficiency, and intensive case management for self-sufficiency and employment needs.
Outcomes for the two projects are to reduce the use of emergency shelter as permanent housing, reduce the use of the jail as an alternative to emergency shelter, and reduce the cycle of arrest and re-arrest for individuals who need services in order to stabilize their lives, achieve self-sufficiency, and contribute in positive ways to the community.