Group Residential Housing Program: Policy recommendations, rate-setting methods, and performance monitoring for the program

The Situation

In 2013, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) contracted the Improve Group to evaluate existing systems and develop an improved rate-setting approach for the supplemental services of its Group Residential Housing (GRH).Used to prevent institutional residence or homelessness, this funding stream serves thousands of Minnesotans with a spectrum of needs to achieve housing stability.

The Solution

On a very tight timetable driven by the impending Legislative session, the Improve Group conducted a mixed-method study to more clearly define how the program is currently working and what changes could improve efficiency, effectiveness and the rate-setting approach. We worked closely with state and county staff and other stakeholders in gathering the data needed to share with DHS and the Legislature. 

While conducting the fast-track study, we:

  • Recruited a representative advisory group of DHS and county staff, providers and advocates to hone our focus and streamline our efforts without sacrificing accuracy or scope.
  • Interviewed staff and stakeholders
  • Conducted focus groups with individuals using supplemental services.
  • Validated existing data for applicability to current assessment needs and created tools to collect new data.
  • Synthesized existing and new data sets to measure the program’s successes and challenges and make achievable recommendations.
  • Developed an approach to rate-setting that acknowledged the complexity of the diverse clients served through the program, while increasing transparency, consistency and effective management of state funds.

The Results

At the start of the evaluation, there was:

  • Little common understanding of how the program funding worked, with few requirements or clear expectations in place.
  • A paucity of research to determine what services were most appropriate for serving the intended population.

Thanks to close collaboration with our client, the Improve Group team succeeded in bringing together multiple levels of data and insights from numerous stakeholders. Working on an expedited schedule, we developed a set of recommendations for systematizing and providing compliance for the flow of funds for needed recipient services.

Link to Report