Today’s Read: Study Provides Further Evidence for Supportive Housing Model

We’ve known for decades that supportive housing – pairing on-site services with the stability of a permanent home – is one of the most powerful tools in ending homelessness for people with mental illness and other special needs.

A study recently published in PLOS ONE underscores the effectiveness of providing homeless people with both housing and supportive services. Over the course of two years, researchers monitored 378 homeless adults with mental illness who were given either housing with intensive case management or treatment as usual. According to lead researcher Vicky Stergiopoulos, PhD, of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto:

Compared to usual care, [housing first with intensive case management] can improve housing stability and community functioning and reduce the days of alcohol related problems in an ethnically diverse sample of homeless adults with mental illness within 2-years.

[Housing first with intensive case management] resulted in significant improvements in housing stability, probability of hospitalization, community functioning, and a reduction in number of days experiencing problems due to and money spent on alcohol use in an ethnically diverse sample of homeless individuals with mental illness living in a large urban metropolis.

This new study adds to the extensive body of research that proves various supportive housing models can end homelessness in diverse communities and among groups with differing characteristics and needs.

Recently, advocates and NYS Assembly Social Services Committee Chair Andrew Hevesi held a series of briefings to help win the backing of 133 members of the State Assembly for a major new supportive housing initiative. The bipartisan statewide group sent a letter to Governor Cuomo asking for 35,000 units of supportive housing over the next decade to address the statewide homeless crisis.

“It is the logical solution to homelessness – supportive housing provides stable homes and support services to those in need. It will save taxpayer dollars as it is more cost-effective than relying on homeless shelters and, most importantly, it works,” said Hevesi.

A new City-State supportive housing agreement aimed at creating 35,000 units would save taxpayers an estimated $303 million annually due to reductions in hospital care, shelter expenses and other institutional care. At the same time, supportive housing has been shown to increase property values in surrounding neighborhoods.

As the evidence backing this model continues to grow – and New York’s current supportive housing agreement nears its expiration date – it is time for the State to join with the City and other localities to fully embrace supportive housing by creating 35,000 units statewide for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

Learn how you can help spread the word about supportive housing through the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing.