Supportive Housing: A Proven Solution
Permanent supportive housing - an affordable home, with support services ranging from counseling to life skills to transportation, depending on a resident's individual needs - is a proven solution to ending long-term homelessness. Across the nation and across Connecticut, permanent supportive housing has demonstrated the ability to reconnect once-homeless individuals - many of them with mental illnesses or physical disabilities or addiction issues - back to their families and friends, and help them return to school, employment, training or volunteer activities.
Studies have shown that this investment pays off. Supportive housing offers better outcomes and costs less than the care provided through institutional settings that those experiencing chronic homelessness typically use: prisons, nursing homes, psychiatric care, and inpatient hospitalization. Analysis by the Reaching Home Campaign shows that the cost of supportive housing is roughly 20 times less than a stay in hospital inpatient, and 40 times less than a stay in an emergency room.
New efforts, like the innovative CHESS Medicaid supportive housing benefit, are focusing on men and women who cycle through the homeless service and corrections systems in order to end the cycle of homelessness and recidivism. Early results show that these programs are succeeding in reducing taxpayer expense for prisons, in-patient hospital care and other costly, less effective responses - while also offering individuals a way to reconnect with the community, find employment and build a better life.
What It Will Take
Ending chronic homelessness with permanent supportive housing, the most cost-effective solution, will require continued commitment and coordination. Housing developers and landlords must collaborate with organizations that provide services to meet the needs of those living in supportive housing. These groups must also coordinate with government agencies to ensure that funding is provided and that these funds are efficiently and effectively used to reach as many individuals and families as possible.
Continued advocacy for affordable and supportive housing is needed to reach our goal of ending long-term homelessness in our state. Instead of a life on the streets, in and out of shelters, hospitals and prisons, permanent supportive housing offers a stable home and a chance to rebuild a life that includes family, friends, community and employment.
We currently have almost 4,400 units of supportive housing in Connecticut, but we need 5,600 more to reach our goal of 10,000 units to end long-term homelessness. You can help make a difference by advocating for more supportive housing on the local, state and national levels.
Learn more about What You Can Do.
For housing assistance or services, please contact the United Way's InfoLine by dialing 2-1-1.