Mecklenburg County released results in Fall 2017 from an independent evaluation of MeckFUSE. The program provides permanent housing for 50 high-risk and high-needs individuals with behavioral health issues who have an extensive history of cycling between jail, shelters, and other public systems. FUSE stands for Frequent Users Systems Engagement.
Professor Shelley Listwan of the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte prepared the evaluation for the Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Department. The three-year process and outcomes evaluation demonstrated improved housing stability, reduced rates of jail and shelter utilization, and reduced hospital charges. Overall, MeckFUSE was successful in reducing system utilization costs among participants.
The evaluation, which followed program participants for two years and used a quasi-experimental matched comparison group design, is noteworthy because there are few studies that follow participants longer-term. One such study reviewed New York City's FUSE program. Together, the studies make a strong case for continuing to serve frequent users of high cost systems, and to providing housing and supportive services with no pre-conditions for entry into the program.
Mecklenburg County plans to continue the MeckFUSE program, operated through a contract with Urban Ministry Center, an interfaith community agency working to end homelessness. Monitoring of arrests and trips to the emergency room will continue, too.
View the full evaluation as a PDF Final MeckFUSE Outcome Evaluation Report Sept 2017 (002).pdf
MeckFUSE One sheet evaluation summary FINAL VERSION 2017.pdf