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Supportive Housing Works

Individuals find the support they need in a setting with all the independence they can handle.  Elderly parents receive medical services and dignity.  Persons with mental health disabilities are reunited with their families.  A homeless veteran breaks his cycle of dependency.  Because supportive housing avoids overuse of expensive institutions and unsuccessful intervention strategies, taxpayers pay less to help more people.

Since the early 1980’s, innovative non-profit organizations across the country have been developing and refining a practical, proven, and cost-effective solution called “supportive housing.” Supportive housing is permanent rental housing matched with a range of support services that has been shown to be workingin large and small cities across the USA.

Because of its documented successes in providing permanent solutions to complex problems, supportive housing is changing policy makers’ opinions about efficient public investments in housing and social services for our most vulnerable populations.
Successful solutions to housing for persons with special needs or disabilities, homelessness, and even elder care…
Every time and for whatever reason a vulnerable person loses his or her housing, his or her problems are compounded. Supportive housing enables residents to first achieve housing stability where affordability counts and then develop self-sufficiency. The percentage of people who remain in supportive housing instead of falling back into unhealthy patterns can be as high as 85% or more for even the hardest-to-house populations. See video here.
Linking needed services to permanent housing provides the stability and opportunity for residents to address their underlying health problems, employment needs and special needs deficits. Support services are designed to minimize long-term dependency on government safety nets. While the cost of supportive housing varies according to the population housed, the services provided and the location, supportive housing generally costs between $7,000 and $15,000 per tenant per year. The alternatives to supportive housing - crisis approaches to care, institutionalization, and repetitive short-term treatment - are both less effective and more expensive.
Research completed by the Corporation for Supportive Housing have demonstrated these results.  Similar results have   been experienced in other cities across the  country.
Flexibly serves a wide variety of populations
Each supportive housing development is designed in terms of physical structure and availability of services for the actual populations who will live in it. This flexibility keeps costs down while providing tailor-made services to a formerly homeless individuals, low-income working people in recovery, seniors, persons living with HlV/AIDS, or people desperately in need of an affordable and decent apartment.
Reduces substance abuse recidivism
As Alcoholics Anonymous has shown, substance abusers need supportive networks to rid themselves of bad habits. Supportive housing offers both professional and peer support for recovering persons. Through daily contacts with tenants, service staff can anticipate problems and intervene before they become crises. In one Minneapolis study, substance abuse program graduates stayed sober at a rate of 90% in supportive housing, as compared to 55% for every other housing option.  This is further supported by research assembled by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the Fannie Mae Foundation’s “KnowledgePlex” libraries
Increases employment
Whether residents are returning to the workforce or entering it for the first time, combining stable, decent and affordable housing with accessible vocational training, placement and adult education helps ensure a successful transition. Supportive housing reduces false starts and encourages job seekers to take reasonable risks with a responsible attitude and approach to employment. In first-year data from a national pilot program Next Step: Jobs, employment rates doubled after tenants moved into supportive housing.  More recent studies performed by professors researching the impacts of Social Welfare Policy at University of Pennsylvania have further demonstrated these findings.
Property Values are not adversely impacted
A variety of studies from across the country have shown that the introduction of affordable housing in communities has not contributed to the decline in property values.  In fact, in some cases property values have increased where affordable housing brought stability to a neignborhood.  A not-for-profit housing association in California has documented these results.
Leverages substantial private sector and philanthropic resources
Public resources dedicated to supportive housing build on substantial private and philanthropic contributions already committed and leverage even more funding.  For example, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, The Enterprise Foundation and Fannie Mae Foundation, the National Equity Fund alone have channeled hundreds of millions of dollars philanthropic funds to nonprofits developing supportive housing …to name only a few.
Utilizes the expertise of nonprofit providers
The nonprofit organizations, which pioneered supportive housing on a national and regional basis, have developed the capacity to extend their benefits to more communities. Building collaborative alliances on the local level has also emerged as positive contributor to the successful development supportive housing. Their expertise in designing appropriate services, guaranteeing quality property management and ensuring that each development fits the neighborhood can be tapped to make the best use of this model.  Combining these national, regional and local capacities has become a “power - house” in leveraging resources and achieving the continuing success of supportive housing.

Sources: Based on research assembled by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the Fannie Mae Foundation’s “KnowledgePlex” library(s).

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