Health, housing, and human services professionals from across the U.S. gathered last week in Arlington, Virginia, for the National Health and Human Services 2019 Summit, organized by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). The summit brings national leaders in this work together to share innovations in policies and practices that support the health and well-being of children and families and create stronger communities.
On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, a panel of these leaders awarded Frank Alexander, Director of the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services, with the APHSA Outstanding Local Member award.
The award hailed Alexander as a passionate advocate of APHSA and the association’s work on both the local and national platforms, adding that “his innovative ideas and solutions for the many barriers we all encounter in our systems set an example for the future, and his solutions for housing stability have influenced many organizations around the country to look closely at housing service delivery and its possibilities.”
“Director Alexander is truly deserving of this recognition from his peers across the country” said APHSA President and CEO Tracy Wareing Evans. “With a resolute focus on the well-being of the people who call Boulder County home, he is leading innovations in service delivery designed to meet families where they are and support vibrant communities. Many of our members look to Boulder County for cutting edge ideas, and at the American Public Human Services Association we are deeply appreciative of his willingness to share his insights and experiences with leaders across the nation.”
In 2009 amid a national recession, under Director Alexander’s leadership Boulder County Housing and Human Services (BCDHHS) became the first agency in the country to merge housing and human services into a single integrated services delivery framework. Since that time, BCDHHS has evolved into an organization that now serves nearly one-third of the Boulder County population each year with the following results over the past decade:
- the uninsured rate for health coverage in Boulder County has fallen from 12 percent to under 4 percent through a focused outreach and enrollment effort to significantly increase access to Medicaid and ACA Health Insurance Exchange coverage;
- SNAP (food assistance) enrollment in the county has increased by 40 percent;
- through preventive and supportive partnerships with families, the number of out-of-home child placements in Boulder County has safely remained steady despite a marked increase in referrals;
- 350 new affordable homes have been added, 500 more are in the works, and Boulder County has helped lead the creation and implementation of a plan to triple the region’s stock of affordable homes;
- the county’s Child Support Services program has generated dramatic increases in support payments through collaboration with non-custodial parents; and
- BCDHHS has made significant progress in aligning and integrating multiple systems and data sources to ensure that the assistance each community member receives is informed by a well-rounded view of their needs.
As part of the recognition, APHSA highlighted the fact that Director Alexander’s leadership amongst local communities across the country has helped demonstrate for them the value and importance of building similar integrated systems, which many are now doing.
“Frank Alexander has taken so many of us under his wing over the years and helped us develop our own successful models of services integration to better serve and support those in need,” said Kelly Harder, Director of the Dakota County (Minnesota) Department of Community Services, a member of the APHSA Locals group and the current APHSA Executive Board Chair. “It’s so important to have public servants with an impactful vision who are willing to help lead others to the place where we can provide the best possible supports for all communities across our nation. Frank is that person for so many of us, and we’re grateful for him.”
Another example of Director Alexander’s transformational approach to integrated service delivery is his leadership on presenting access to safe, stable, affordable housing as a public health issue, including ensuring increased access to housing integrated with prevention-focused services.
“We are fortunate to have such a visionary leader in housing and human services right here in Boulder County,” said Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones. “Frank Alexander has innovatively redesigned the way we provide support to our neighbors, and the result is that people get help earlier and more comprehensively so they and their families have the best chance to be happy and healthy in our community. We congratulate Frank on this well-deserved Outstanding Local Member recognition from APHSA.”
“Our partnerships with communities around the country have been critical to our work in strengthening our community,” said Frank Alexander. “This award is a recognition of the entire community and our fabulous partnerships with the schools, health clinics, Family Resource Centers, IMPACT partners, colleagues in local government, housing collaborators, and so many others.”
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