Housing First provides an opportunity to address a structural systems issue in Rhode Island regarding homelessness, the overuse of emergency room departments and expensive emergency services. In 2005, the state of Rhode Island and the United Way of Rhode Island created a pilot program to address chronic homelessness in the State by housing homeless, single adults in subsidized apartments and providing those clients with the services they needed to stay housed. The program was designed according to “Housing First” principles which involve rapid access to permanent housing with voluntary access to a variety of services that focus on housing retention. The program was implemented in 2005. An evaluation of the program in July of 2006 found there was a substantial cost savings to the State, approximately $7500 per person, per year.
A return to life in the street or in shelters is destructive to a client’s physical health, mental health, and level of social integration. And, it dramatically increases the costs to the government and taxpayers due to increased use of health, mental health, corrections, and shelter facilities. BHDDH is committed to expanding housing retention services and housing options for the population we serve. We are collaborating with Rhode Island Housing, the Office of Housing and Community Development, Medicaid, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services to find innovative solutions to the lack of supportive housing statewide.
CSH offers a comprehensive portfolio of services that boost the value and impact of work in cities and states throughout the U.S. CSH was established to support the efforts of local pioneers developing service-supported housing for those most in need. The focus includes people coping with homelessness and extreme poverty, as well as chronic health conditions such as mental illness, addiction or HIV/AIDS.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. By improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders, the Alliance has become a leading voice on this issue.