Mountain View, CA (August 20, 2015)– Fenwick & West acted as pro bono counsel to Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara County as they developed California’s first Pay for Success (PFS) project, Project Welcome Home. The innovative project will provide permanent supportive housing and clinical services for 150-200 individuals who struggle with chronic homelessness in Santa Clara County.
“Pay for Success is an innovative model for funding and scaling promising social interventions, driving government funding to programs that produce effective results,” Fenwick corporate partner Matthew Rossiter said. “As an entrepreneurial, results-oriented legal firm for technology and life sciences companies, Fenwick was enthusiastic about this opportunity to support creative solutions in the social sphere, and to assist some of the highest-need members of our community.”
Project Welcome Home, which was announced on August 14, 2015, is the result of a multi-year effort by the county, in partnership with Abode Services, a national leader in innovative housing services, and a range of investors and community supporters, and will operate on a Pay for Success model. Private sector and philanthropic investors have provided the initial funding required for the project, and the county will make payments only if and when the project achieves clearly defined, measurable results.
“Fenwick’s support was vital in the successful launch of this program which aims to fight chronic homelessness through permanent supportive housing – an evidence-based intervention that we believe has the potential to end participants homelessness and reduce reliance on costly government services,” said Greta Hansen, Santa Clara’s lead deputy county counsel. “The firm drew from their wealth of experience to provide thoughtful analysis and steady advice.”
Santa Clara County, the largest county in Silicon Valley, has the fifth largest homeless population in the United States. More than 6,500 people in the county may be homeless each night, 2,200 of which can be considered chronically homeless. Studies have shown that chronically homeless individuals, with little to no access to stable housing and long-term supportive services, end up utilizing significant and disproportionate government resources in the form of emergency room visits, jail time, and other services that provide only short-term relief.
“This was a unique and rewarding pro bono opportunity,” Fenwick associate Morgan Sawchuk said. “Corporate transactional attorneys have fewer opportunities to put our core legal skills to work on pro bono projects, so we were thankful for the chance to support Project Welcome Home. Guiding the project’s launch involved fundamental transaction elements, processes and problems that we regularly address when advising clients in a broad range of business transactions.”
Project Welcome Home is supported by funding from private and philanthropic funders including The Sobrato Family Foundation, The California Endowment, The Health Trust, The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), The James Irvine Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Google.org. A range of other organizations, like Fenwick, have volunteered their services to help make the project a reality.
The Fenwick transaction team included corporate partner Matt Rossiter, corporate associates Faisal Rashid, Eric Shedlosky, Morgan Sawchuk and Alex Pressman and IP associate Spencer Glende.
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