Study: Housing First is a Success in Denver

Results from five years of Denver's Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond Initiative show that people and communities benefit from a 'Housing First' approach to homelessness.

July 22, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Denver, Colorado

Brett VA / Flickr

People experiencing homelessness are often "trapped in a homelessness-jail cycle—rotating in and out of jail, detoxification centers, and emergency health care. This cycle doesn’t help people access the assistance they need to find stability, and it comes at a major cost to taxpayers." The 'Housing First' concept seeks to change that–and seems to be succeeding, as research from The Urban Institute, with partners from The Evaluation Center at the University of Colorado Denver, shows. "Results from the five-year Denver Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond Initiative (Denver SIB) show how both people and public budgets benefit when communities take this proactive approach."

"Housing First programs don’t require participants to meet any preconditions, and they are built on the idea that secure, affordable, and permanent housing must be available before people can work on other challenges, such as mental health or substance use disorders." The rigorous study "used a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard for determining a program’s impact, that included 724 people: 363 people were in the treatment group (referred to the supportive housing program) and 361 people were in the control group (receiving services as usual in the community)." Its results show "that supportive housing, through a Housing First approach, not only ends chronic homelessness and helps people find stability, but also reduces jail days and lowers the public costs of the homelessness-jail cycle."

Thursday, July 15, 2021 in Urban Institute

A group of people gather in front of a row of small homes.

Georgia's First Tiny Home Village Now Open, and Sold Out

Eight single-family houses on a half-acre of land.

July 25, 2021 - Urbanize Atlanta

Tall buildings in Downtown Phoenix.

Arizona's Tallest Building Will Soon Be Vacant

The tallest building in the Grand Canyon State will enter a new era.

July 21, 2021 - KJZZ

Raleigh, North Carolina

It's Good to Be a Small Business in These 6 U.S. Cities

Here are six U.S. cities where small companies are thriving.

July 20, 2021 - Devin Partida

Junior Designer

Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates

Executive Director/Administrator of City Planning

Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency/City of Chattanooga

Assistant Planner

City of Willits

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.