The National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C., has released the below statistics to describe the gains made by developing Housing First models. Though those who were homeless and have been placed in these programs have benefited the most, the benefit is not limited to them: homeless service providers see a decrease in the need for emergency services; health care facilities have less visits; police see fewer arrests; and rehab facilities see fewer admissions.
Not only that but the cost to taxpayers decreases when these services are not strained and housing is permanent and stable.
A study of residents of two Seattle Housing First projects has shown significant benefits to homeless individuals and the community. The preliminary study compared tenants’ behavior, use of services, and involvement in the criminal justice system 12 months prior to entering housing and for the 12 months after. The results for one of the projects, 1811 Eastlake, showed tenants’ use of crisis services declined substantially, resulting in a $2.5 million savings to public systems:
* 92 percent fewer nights in emergency shelter;
* 87 percent fewer admissions to sobering centers;
* 45 percent fewer bookings to county jail; and
* 41 percent fewer medical expenses.
Tenants also reduced their use of alcohol:
* One third reduction in the number of days residents used alcohol to the point of intoxication and
* 63 percent increase in abstinence from drinking alcohol.
1811 Eastlake is operated by the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC), and houses 75 formerly homeless men and women with chronic alcohol addiction. DESC worked with county officials to identify people who were the most frequent users of crisis services. Of the 79 people they approached with an offer of housing, 75 accepted. Tenants had been homeless an average of 31 of the prior 36 months before moving in.
Similar findings were reported for another housing first program, Plymouth on Stewart, which is operated by the Plymouth Housing Group in Seattle:
* The need for medical respite was eliminated;
* Emergency department visits declined 74 percent; and
* Sobering center admissions declined 97 percent.