Predicting Staying In or Leaving Permanent Supportive Housing

Yin-Ling Irene Wong, Trevor R. Hadley, Dennis P. Culhane, Steve R. Poulin, Morris R. Davis, Brian A. Cirksey, and James L. Brown

March 2006

For a significant number of homeless individuals with disabilities, McKinney Act-funded permanent supportive housing is not experienced as permanent. These figures raise very important policy questions for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in its administration of permanent housing programs for homeless persons. For example:  (1) What does permanent housing mean for homeless providers and clients?  (2.) What happens to the formerly homeless people with disabilities who leave HUD-funded permanent housing?  and (3) How does the degree and nature of disability and the length of time without housing at the time participants enter permanent housing affect how long they remain in the permanent housing, where they go upon departure, and housing stability after leaving permanent housing?  The findings from this research suggest that departure from permanent housing is a complex phenomenon. Simple dichotomization of “leavers” and “stayers” is simply not sufficient to guide public policy in enhancing the effectiveness of permanent housing. A substantial proportion of leavers moved to residences that required more independent living skills and less reliance on supportive services than the permanent housing program they left.  However, a significant portion of leavers from permanent supportive housing depart under unfavorable circumstances, are discharged to homelessness or institutionalized settings, or go to community residential settings requiring higher level of supervision and care.

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