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Study Links Reduced Use of Mental Health Facilities, Nursing Homes and Other Public Services to "Smart Investments" in Supportive Housing
Date:4/1/2009

stems as much -- or at all."

Supportive Housing in Illinois: A Wise Investment measured the impact of the supportive housing intervention on the use of public services from a sample of 177 residents over a four-year time period, comparing the two years before residents entered supportive housing with the two years after. Data were collected on these residents from Medicaid, mental health hospitals, substance use treatment, prisons, and various county jails and hospitals.

The study notes a dramatic shift in the use of state services pre- to post-housing. Among the key findings:

  • The number of people using state mental health hospitals dropped 90 percent from pre- to post-supportive housing. The number of overnight stays in mental health hospitals went down by almost 100 percent. The sample of 177 residents used more than $400,000 worth of state mental health hospital services before entry into supportive housing -- down to $873 after.
  • Overnight stays in state prison dropped to zero during the post-housing time period with a 100 percent cost savings of over $215,000. County jails saw an 86 percent decrease in overnight stays post-supportive housing.
  • Medicaid services saw a major shift from a high-reliance on expensive inpatient/acute services before supportive housing to less expensive outpatient/preventative services after.
  • Nursing home stays decreased by 97 percent, saving over $230,000

"The true cost saving from supportive housing is much higher than reported in this study. We weren't able to collect the costs of homeless shelters, soup kitchens, free clinics and other supportive services used by this population," says Amy Rynell, lead researcher at MAIP. "And while we also don't measure the social costs of supportive housing, we know from residents t
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SOURCE Corporation for Supportive Housing; Supportive Housing Providers Association; Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty
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