Why Housing First Matters | Housing First Works | When Banks & the Community Help | OCC: Community Development Investments (February 2012) — Ending Homelessness: Financing Permanent Supportive Housing

Why Housing First matters (It’s about People!):

Please view our presentation at the end of this blog post!

Chronic homelessness incurs high costs for communities because individuals experiencing homelessness are frequent users of community services. Consequently, chronic homelessness can be a major strain on local community budgets. The biggest costs to communities are health care expenses, because of frequent and avoidable inpatient hospitalizations, and visits to emergency rooms, detoxification centers, and nursing homes. Other high costs are associated with the criminal justice system.

Figure 1: Public Cost of Services for Homeless Individuals (2004-2009)

Housing First | When Banks Help | OCC: Community Development Investments (February 2012) -- Ending Homelessness: Financing Permanent Supportive Housing

Each community gets different results & has different cost structures for these items – what are Savannah;s you ask – we’ll find out, together!

Housing First | When Banks Help | OCC: Community Development Investments (February 2012) -- Ending Homelessness: Financing Permanent Supportive Housing

What Housing First accomplishes:

The most effective type of supportive housing uses the Housing First approach, which seeks to screen in rather than screen out individuals with substance abuse and mental illness. Often, people with these conditions are not eligible to receive housing assistance from other programs, many of which require clients to be free of drugs and alcohol. Housing First seeks to move these hard-to-house individuals into permanent housing quickly and then to provide them with the support services they need to achieve and maintain housing stability. As “Opening Doors” highlights, the research is clear that PSH using a Housing First approach is the best solution for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness—and it is the most cost-effective solution for states and communities. Compared with repeated use of emergency services and jails, there is no question that PSH is the better option.

What’s an example of savings you ask:

Housing First | When Banks Help | OCC: Community Development Investments (February 2012) -- Ending Homelessness: Financing Permanent Supportive Housing

Source: a report on Housing First, a study for Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority

And those savings are documented across multiple environments & states:

Figure 2: Cost of Serving the Homeless Declines in Permanent Supportive Housing (2005-2008)

How PSH (Permanent Supportive Housing) becomes Housing First:

It takes a change in focus, understanding & compassion. It’s also the right thing to do for taxpayers! Graphs above show the relative value of Housing First & PSH!

Why Housing First Works:

This change in mindset translates to showing the love & compassion of a community towards those who can’t seem to fit the mold (one size doesn’t fit all!).

Taxpayer savings are nice too! Innovative approaches are needed however to get even more value from Housing First & PSH models for the taxpayer & community in today’s climate!

It’s about People:

It's About People!

At the program’s 2010 fall cookout, Garland Teague and Dori Wilson received certificates for recognition of two successful years in housing.

Hear what one program director & participants have to say about their program & the difference it’s made in their lives both as service providers & program participants!

Review the SAMSHA Analysis of the Housing Fist Model which says “Housing First Works“!

The Housing First Savannah approach:

The Savannah Model is an adaptation of these approaches! It focuses on not using Federal dollars or HUD Vouchers as we believe we have a much more innovative approach & model.

It’s time for innovation in the Housing First model to take into account our fiscal situation as a nation & community! We do not seek government dollars as we believe it’s the responsibility of the entire community to address its homelessness issues.

View our Executive Summary on Housing First Savannah’s website!

Let’s get the discussion going & then do a proof of concept, pilot or just get it rolling!

Comments, feedback & engagement welcome:

  • Engage with the Faith Community Taskforce as they develop a Response to Homelessness
  • Become a Partner in Housing First Savannah
  • Learn more about the housing development model that will create jobs & a new industry for Savannah
  • Other jobs initiatives are underway within the services component for Housing First Savannah, see an example in a linked post we recently did (link below)
  • See why & how this approach to Housing First (communities of restoration & recovery) can work for all populations of homelessness: chronic, veterans, family, women & children, prison re-entry, mental health, domestic violence, … (each served uniquely with projects & communities focused on each population)
  • View a presentation recently given at the Chatham Safety Net Council monthly meeting (link to presentation posting below)
  • Become part of the next Strategic Plan (Ten Year Plan) process – this should be done “with” the community not “for” us, it’s not a black box approach to end homelessness, there’s also a lot to learn & apply new innovative solutions that have worked elsewhere – why not in Savannah you ask? A topic for another blog post or two! 🙂

Our Housing First presentation with more justifications & background on why housing first for Savannah, how to get there & a vision for Savannah’s approach to Housing First!

via OCC: Community Development Investments (February 2012) — Ending Homelessness: Financing Permanent Supportive Housing.


3 thoughts on “Why Housing First Matters | Housing First Works | When Banks & the Community Help | OCC: Community Development Investments (February 2012) — Ending Homelessness: Financing Permanent Supportive Housing

  1. homelessnessinsavannah Post author

    A few comments from the SAMSHA article are appropriate to share here too:

    Some important overall stats first:

    Housing First participants work with case managers to find scattered site private market apartments where they live independently. In addition to case management, participants receive access to a range of substance abuse and mental health treatment options that assist them in pursuing personalized recovery plans. As of March 2011, the project has housed more than 100 formerly homeless persons, 95 percent of whom were chronically homeless. More than 80 percent of participants have maintained housing for more than 6 months, and 31 of the program’s original participants have stayed in housing for 2 years or more. According to GPRA intake and follow-up interview data, participants report less severe use of alcohol and illegal drugs, decreased occurrence of mental health symptoms, greater connections to support networks, and increases in personal income.

    Housing Case Manager Supervisor, Nolan Nelson, had this to say about the program, “I’m very grateful for the doors our SAMHSA program has been able to open for our clients. It’s one thing to refer a person for substance abuse or mental health treatment and have them wait in line, but it is another thing for our clients to access this treatment almost immediately upon referral. With the additional services our SAMHSA program provides, clients are able to access treatment as soon as they are ready for change. In addition, I think how we’ve chosen to operate our program has proven to be very effective for our clients, especially those traditionally referred to as the most difficult to serve. In adopting a Housing First approach, we’ve been able to create an environment where clients who might have been terminated using another approach are able to maintain their housing, stabilize, and continue working toward change.”

    Housing First staff consists of a team of case managers who assist clients in maintaining their housing, meeting day-to-day needs, and setting personal goals for happy and productive lives. A psychiatric nurse practitioner meets with many participants in their homes to address their mental health needs and assists them in their transition from homelessness to independent housing. The project is overseen by the project coordinator, and the project evaluator regularly conducts participant GPRA interviews and other assessments of the project’s progress in meeting its goals and objectives.

    Project Coordinator, Andy Patterson, explained what the program means to him, “Housing First means that housing is a basic human right for everyone. Our first priority is to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for homeless and chronically homeless persons. Many of these people have not been well served by other programs that require treatment as a precondition to housing, and they are often considered to be one of the most difficult groups to serve. Housing First, however, has proven very successful in serving the needs of this population. We are proud to report that we have nearly 40 clients who have remained housed for two years or more.”

    When CHAB asked Carey D. Addison, Jr., Healthcare for the Homeless Project Evaluator, what about this program may be interesting to grantees across the Nation, he said, “The project has demonstrated great success in providing long-term permanent supportive housing for a population that has traditionally been difficult to serve. Participants are served by a flexible network of services rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treating consumers that provides meaningful recovery from substance abuse, mental health disorder, and homelessness.”

  2. Pingback: Developing a sense of Urgency: Viable next steps | We need both compassion & social justice to end homelessness: Justice is a step beyond compassion | Housing First is the ultimate social justice at this time for Savannah – Food for the Hungry B

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