Combined Arms Houston
Combined Arms is a one-stop resource for veterans in transition. Through a combined effort with 165+ member organizations, they offer holistic support in a customized and efficient way.
What factors are essential for effective cross-sector alignment?
- Mission, vision, and purpose were designed as a community and are revisited annually as a group. Mission and vision statements “are purposefully broad” so as to incorporate many organizations and activities.
- Use of a co-working space facilitates a sense of shared purpose and collaboration.
- MOUs signed by all partners to establish shared purpose of addressing social needs of military members and their families.
- Originally governance was shared but eventually, partner organizations were divided into “collaboration committees” that meet monthly to make decisions.
- Combined Arms also established four community groups including the Christians group, LGBTQ group, energy network, and the VRG network group that meets quarterly.
- Combined Arm has a robust data system, including a robust amount of data collected, decision-making done with data, detail of reports available, etc. They provide actionable data to member organizations and opportunities to collaborate during meetings and virtual collaboration and relevant dashboards to indicate progress toward goals.
- The coalition created a “backbone technology system” to facilitate data sharing. Through referral technology and data, they efficiently connect veterans with 70+ service organizations who provide 450+ customized resources.
Finance and Sustainability
- First four years privately funded; now diversifying revenue portfolio to include more public funds. The program is made possible in part by a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
- Public funding seen as more sustainable for scaling projects originally established with private funds.
- About half of current funds comes from recurring contracts with “major institutions.”
Integration of Health Equity
- Not a key part of their overarching mission and vision
- Uses the World Health Organization’s 5-point index in screenings and data systems to establish health equity profiles for people enrolled in their program
- Identifies and prioritizes clients for services if they meet a certain threshold of need
Community Trust and Accountability
- Partners with well-known organizations like Wounded Warriors and the VA
- Recruits key endorsements from state officials like governors
- Holds partner organizations to a strict timeframe for responding to referrals, with publicly available data for accountability
Measures of Success
- Looks at both program impact data, including service utilization data by clients and other population level health outcomes data, and process data, focused on the organizations in the collaborative
- Holds organizations accountable using data
- Examines return on investment data and outcome impact survey/progress report
- Partnered with the VA, Wounded Warriors, and TWC
- Streamlined the client experience in connecting to resources through the collaboration of membership organizations