Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says a first-of-its-kind pilot program aims to "move the dial" on homelessness in the city by providing permanent supportive housing to 400 homeless people over the next year. The program, created in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Partners in Housing and Adult & Child Health, will also provide Medicaid benefits and support services to participants.

The city says the program will only be available to Anthem Medicaid members and will target those experiencing homelessness who may have significant mental health, substance abuse and/or physical health issues and need access to care. In addition to the Medicaid benefits, Anthem will also fund health care and social services, navigation services and housing support programs.

The city of Indianapolis will provide funding for beds and facility costs with assistance from the Indianapolis Housing Trust Fund. Scott Armstrong, executive director of Partners in Housing, says his organization will provide transition and tenancy sustaining services at the Blue Triangle Apartments in Indy.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Armstrong says the goal is to get everyone into a permanent housing situation.

"We’re going to bring people in, find out what they need, what have been their main barriers to finding permanent housing in the past, get a housing plan that gets them on that path. That’s what the supportive services are about," said Armstrong. "A lot of our homeless neighbors are having trouble getting their paperwork: Social Security cards, birth certificates, things that you and I take for granted that you need to do anything."

Partners in Housing has opened the top two floors of the Blue Triangle Apartments for the program. Armstrong says the organization will ultimately convert all of the rooms in the building to studio efficiency apartments in an effort to provide more permanent housing for those in need.

Armstrong says if the pilot program is successful, he hopes to replicate it throughout the city and beyond.