Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Homeless Need Homes (or, "Duhhhhhh")

Thanks to the Chronicle of Philanthropy for highlighting this major announcement, which has even made it to the pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Major Study Supports 'Housing First' Approach to Homelessness

A four-year study whose results will be announced today indicates that putting up homeless people in subsidized housing, even without focusing on other medical or behavioral problems first, saves the public money and reduces chronic homelessness, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The study, conducted by a number of hospitals and nonprofit groups, concluded that providing people with a home and a case manager at a cost of $12,000 per year saved taxpayer money because the once-homeless person spent less time in hospitals and emergency rooms.

Some homelessness experts, however, remain skeptical of the approach, especially for drug abusers and alcoholics. And the program appears to work only in conjunction with intensive follow-up by social workers. Still, the study seems likely to shift homelessness policy in the United States.
Read The Chronicle of Philanthropy's article here, including a link to The Chronicle's article on the housing-first movement and efforts to end homelessness by 2014. There was also an article about "Housing First" in last June's The Boston Globe.

At Central Dallas Ministries, we are working to provide permanent supportive housing to the chronically homeless in our community. Here is a video that we put together around this time last year... some interviews with our friends who are living on the street.