Sunday, January 30, 2011

Housing First success spelled out

Home for the Holidays

by Richard W. Brown
December 15, 2010
in Ending Homelessness,Housing First

Housing First Works!
Study Documents Cost Savings

To read the full story in the Trenton Times click here.
Monarch Housing has always been an advocate for Housing First. It is a proven strategy that ends homelessness.
But if we had ever had any doubts about the value of Housing First, those doubts would have evaporated as a result of a recent forum that the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness hosted – a roundtable discussion to assess the progress of the Mercer Housing First Demonstration Initiative in Trenton and Mercer County that has made significant progress in ending homelessness.
Gail Collins, one of the participants in the roundtable said:
“I couldn’t ask for a better holiday. I got the tree up. I got the house decorated. I’m listening to Christmas music. I was even able to purchase Christmas gifts.”
Ms. Collins, who spent years “shuffling between shelters, transitional housing and abandoned buildings, feeding her drug addiction” will celebrate this holiday with her children and grandchildren.
The Mercer Housing First Demonstration Initiative currently houses sixty (60) people who had an average of 6.3 years of homelessness prior to entering the program. The program has had a 95% retention rate.
Not only does Housing First end homelessness, it also saves money.
The “Cost-Benefit Analysis – Preliminary Report – December 8, 2010″ prepared by Kevin S. Irwin of the Community Health Program at Tufts University documents that Housing First spent $18,587 per tenant per year. After reducing the hospital overnights, mental health overnights and emergency room visits for that same population when they were on the streets, the Housing First program is saving $9,429 a year per tenant.
Over a year for the fifteen tenants in the study the Housing First Program Cost Savings for would be $141,435.
For the 60 tenants currently in Housing First the annual savings would be $565,740.
Monarch Housing has been involved with the Mercer Collaborative as well as Housing First initiatives in Passaic, Bergen and beginning this month in Camden.

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