Urban Fold

Supportive Housing Is Key To Dealing With Homelessness

A recent article urges New Mexicans to support the idea of permanent housing linked to services as a solution to homelessness -- citing the cost savings and demonstrated success of such facilities.

"Supportive housing is independent, affordable housing, linked to support services. In October 2006, the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness conducted a study to compare the nightly cost of supportive housing with that of local hospitals, jails and shelters. The cost per bed, per night, at New Mexico facilities was as follows: $716 at the University of New Mexico Hospital, $550 at St. Vincent's Hospital, $82 at the Santa Fe County Detention Center, $77 at the state penitentiary, $33 for supportive housing and $30 for emergency shelters.

It is clear that supportive housing is a more affordable option, and although shelter costs are comparable, they do not provide the stable environment that comes with being housed.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that once the chronically homeless are placed into supportive housing, there is a significant reduction in the costs of emergency services. Enhanced case management and housing services create a more stable and autonomous environment, which leads to a decrease in hospitalization and incarceration.

The researchers also found that the retention rate for such housing is upward of 70 percent. This in turn, lessens the burden on hospitals, jails, prisons and shelters."

Full Story: Commentary: Cost of homelessness

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