Impact of a Housing First Program on Health Utilization Outcomes Among Chronically Homeless Persons

Malini B. DeSilva, Julie Manworren and Paul Targonski

September 2011

The authors examined the impact of a Housing First program on the use of specific health services, detoxification services, and criminal activity of long-term homeless individuals. The study sample consisted of eligible members of the inception cohort (18 enrollees) in the Single Adults Residential Assistance program (SARA) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Analyses examined participant housing stability after enrollment in SARA and compared the use of a county medical center, detoxification programs, and criminal activity in the 2 years before and after enrollment in SARA. Only one of the 18 enrollees studied experienced homelessness during the 2-year follow-up after enrollment in SARA. There was a significant reduction in the amount of criminal activity in the 2-year period after SARA enrollment. The direction of association observed for other service uses remained consistent with expectations in existing literature, but were not statistically significant. Supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals may be successful at decreasing homelessness among this fragile population and may help reduce criminal activity.

Go to Study