This summer, the City of Philadelphia initiated the PEACE (Partners Establishing Accessible, Affordable Housing and Caring for Older Adults Empathetically) program pilot, a public-private partnership with local long-term care and independent living organizations to provide housing and behavioral and physical health services to vulnerable older adults.
Through this pilot, the City will work with an inaugural class of 80 older Philadelphians with histories of homelessness and disabilities who are currently living in City-supported temporary housing, to help them find and move into sustainable housing with the support they need to age safely and improve their quality of life.
The need for this pilot was made clear by the COVID pandemic, which exacerbated the vulnerability of older individuals with chronic diseases who do not have secure housing.
Cross-system innovations and support
The goals of PEACE are to improve coordinated care, expand quality housing choices, offer least-restrictive, safest and most supportive living options for vulnerable older Philadelphians to meet their changing needs as they age. The pilot offers individuals choices among long-term care settings, including options to live together with fellow older residents from OHS- and CBH-funded housing as a naturally occurring retirement community, or NORC.
This partnership creates new processes and systems for vulnerable adults to access more appropriate levels of care. PEACE participants will receive the case management, transportation, social supports, meals, medication management, physical care, and coordinated behavioral health care they need.
Ensuring quality and choice
To prepare for the PEACE pilot, the City worked with local older adult services organizations and ombudsmen to identify individuals, provide them with choices about the most suitable places for them to live, and assess the quality of multiple long-term care organizations ready to provide housing and services.
The partner facilities are getting additional staff training and supports to ensure that participants get high quality, coordinated physical and mental health care in a welcoming and supportive setting.
PEACE is a collaboration between the Managing Director’s Office, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, Community Behavioral Health, the Office of Homeless Services, the Department of Public Health, and the Mayor’s Commission on Aging.
As of July, six eligible Philadelphians are already housed in the long-term care setting of their choice, and 40 have been referred for the pilot. Pilot partners are documenting innovative policies, procedures, and processes to move PEACE from a pilot program to a sustainable, ongoing program.