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‘SASH for All’ Initiative Underway in Brattleboro

SASH for All (“Support and Services at Home for All”) is making headway in Brattleboro, where several publicly funded housing communities are testing the concept. This federally funded pilot initiative is bringing SASH programs and resources to families and individuals living in affordable housing.

While “traditional” SASH is available to Medicare recipients who are older adults and people with disabilities, SASH for All targets low-income residents of all ages and abilities. These individuals are at risk of adverse health outcomes as they struggle to pay their bills on time, live their lives free from hunger, access health care, provide their child/children with quality before- and after-school care, and continue their education, and employment, and more.

Like SASH elsewhere, SASH for All is an entirely free and voluntary program. The goal is to provide a broad and flexible spectrum of support and resources within the home to empower participants to achieve goals they have set for themselves.

This year the program has been piloted in nine affordable-housing communities in Brattleboro in collaboration with Brattleboro Housing Partnerships and the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, both of which have long operated SASH in their senior housing communities.

The housing-based SASH staff works with individuals and their families to assess their health and wellness needs, connect them with resources and help them meet self-defined goals. Families struggling with financial security, well-being, and social connections receive special focus.

SASH for All Participants Receive a Number of Services:

  • In-person visits with the staff and a comprehensive health and wellness assessment updated yearly;
  • A team-based and person-centered approach to help participants meet their self-identified goals;
  • One-on-one support and regular access to health promotion and prevention-based programs;
  • A personalized or family, or both, Healthy Living Plan, based on the self-identified goals;
  • Access to fun and informative events as part of their local Community Healthy Living Plan, including community meals, educational programs, workshops, exercise classes, and more;
  • Regular check-ins and support from their SASH coordinator, wellness nurse, and peer support specialist;
  • Referrals and information on services and resources available within the community;
  • An informed team to help in a crisis or special time of need; and;
  • Support in life transitions.

In accordance with the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families™ model, SASH for All is using metrics in six categories to measure progress and impact:

  • Social Connections: Youth and adults will have a say in improving their community and be socially engaged in positive relationships.
  • Health & Wellness: Adults and children will be connected to a primary care provider and access prevention-based programs in their home communities.
  • Food Access & Security: Residents will be relieved from the stress of not having enough food.
  • Transportation: Transportation challenges will be identified and remedied.
  • Housing Stability & Economic Wellness: Residents will create financial breathing room and housing stability.
  • Education & Childcare: Adults will be prepared to pursue their educational aspirations while participating in their children’s educational journey.

With positive outcomes as measured by these metrics, the potential exists to spread SASH to more than 10,000 affordable, multifamily rental units in Vermont, notes SASH Director Liz Genge.

Funding for SASH for All was secured by Sen. Bernie Sanders as part of the FY 2022 federal budget. The program is being piloted in several affordable-housing communities in Brattleboro in collaboration with Brattleboro Housing Partnerships and the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, both of which have long operated traditional SASH in their senior housing communities.

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