Funding investments are required to implement the types of wide-scale changes associated with a fully integrated system as well as smaller scale efforts to increase cooperation and collaboration among service providers. Service co-location can represent a one-time capital investment to house a group of service-providing agencies in a single location. Other efforts to facilitate an integrated approach to planning and service delivery will require initial and ongoing funds (e.g. for the development and implementation of centralized data management systems). In general, the adoption of a systems approach to homelessness requires investments in things like: training, data collection and management, technical services (e.g. for the development of a centralized database), policy development, joint planning, service co-location or simply shared meeting spaces.
The costs of full systems integration exceed those associated with a more grassroots approach (e.g. collaboration, cooperation) because of the costs required to design and implement a centralized intake and monitoring system. Horizontal forms of integration require significantly greater economic investments to create infrastructure required for the seamless integration of services across a region or service delivery area. Long term, an integrated system should offer a good return on investment by reducing redundancies, improving the delivery of targeted services, and eliminating inter-organizational inefficiencies.
Linking funding eligibility to the adoption of a systems planning approach or to established standards regarding collaboration, coordination, or integration is one way that some regions have pursued a systems-oriented response to homelessness reduction and prevention. Funding streams should be carefully crafted to facilitate collaboration. Instead of narrowly constructed issues- or problem-based funding streams (e.g. a focus on mental health), funding should support a collective effort to create multifaceted solutions (e.g. a focus on homelessness prevention).