Supportive Housing Means Less Time in Mental Health, Nursing Homes, Prisons

The Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty

April 2009

This analysis focused on 177 supportive housing residents in Illinois and the impact of supportive housing on their use of expensive, primarily publicly-funded services.  Analysis compared the 2 years before they entered supportive housing with the 2 years after.  Data were collected on these residents from Medicaid, mental health hospitals, substance use treatment, prisons, and various county jails and hospitals.  There was a 39 percent reduction in the total cost of services from pre- to post-supportive housing with an overall savings of $854,477. This was an average savings of $4,828 per resident for the 2-year time period or $2,414 per resident, per year.  The researchers note that the cost savings from supportive housing is likely to be much higher than reported here, as a number of costs were infeasible to include or beyond the scope of the analysis, including the homeless system and related costs, substance use treatment costs, social costs, and many others.  Additionally, cost savings likely continued in the years following this study time frame.  The study also found that residents reported an increased quality of life after the supportive housing intervention; not only did their housing stabilize, but their health improved, and they experienced less stress. 

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