Financial Sustainability for Community Responder Programs

paramedic tending to man

Financial Sustainability for Community Responder Programs

Stable funding is critical to the sustainability of any community responder program, which requires resources for everything from community engagement to staffing and training to marketing campaigns. Additional funding may also be needed to build up emergency response systems and crisis hotlines to receive and direct calls to community responder programs and facilitate care coordination. To craft an effective sustainability strategy, local leaders will need to ensure there is dedicated funding for community responder programs as well as a combination of other public and private funding sources.

Creating a Detailed Plan for Sustainability

1. Determine funding needs

When considering a new program, it is important to determine how much the program will cost to run. Read More…

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This should include projecting the funding needed for planning, hiring and retaining staff, training, and ongoing support during crucial times for community responders. Costs for needs such as mobile vehicles (if applicable), data collection, program management, and oversight are also important to consider when determining funding needs.

2. Identify sources of funding for initial costs

Leaders may need to explore private or federal funding sources to support the early implementation of the community responder program, help cover startup costs, and support initial operations while savings begin to accrue. Read More…

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Communities that go this route can plan to transition to local funding streams once programs get off the ground and see initial success, although some jurisdictions may offer state and local grant dollars at the start. If leaders choose to develop a pilot program for the community responder team, there should also be a plan in place for bringing the program to scale across the entire community that includes options for multiple years of future funds.

3. Build a sustainable, long-term funding strategy

Local leaders should work to ensure that there is a dedicated funding stream for any community responder program, potentially within the government budget or through local taxes. Read More…

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Programs may also need to find additional funding sources, whether through private, federal, or local dollars, such as federal emergency relief funds. Medicaid may offer long-term sustainability via service reimbursement for mobile crisis teams or through 1115 waivers. Programs should continue to collect data to show their success through outcome data and case examples of people helped by the program to help secure future funding. This involves setting up key metrics at the beginning of the program and using progress to show legislators and potential funders (whether federal, private, or local) the positive impact the program provides and how much more it can do with additional support.



EXPLAINER: How Medicaid and the American Rescue Plan Can Support Community Responder Programs

Here’s what you need to know about using the American Rescue Plan to support community responder programs.


Financing Community Responder Programs

This brief offers four common sources of funding to finance community responder programs.


Funding Community Responder Programs: A Q&A with the CAHOOTS Program in Oregon

Staff at The Council of State Governments Justice Center spoke with former CAHOOTS Director of Consulting Timothy Black about CAHOOTS’ funding efforts, challenges, and successes.

Additional Resources