Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alliance Applauds Congress and President Obama for Enacting the HEARTH Act

National Alliance to End Homelessness
Alliance Applauds Congress and President Obama for Enacting the HEARTH Act
Bipartisan bill emphasizes homelessness prevention, rapid re-housing, and program modernization

Washington, D.C. - Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, commended the nation's leadership today for passing the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. The bill, which was included as part of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, reauthorizes the Department of Housing and Urban Development's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs, which represent the largest federal investment in preventing and ending homelessness.

"Today, we seize a rare opportunity to truly transform the way we help those most in need of our assistance," said Roman. "In these challenging times, we all sympathize with those facing tougher and tougher decisions about how to protect themselves and their families. We thank President Obama and Congress for seizing this opportunity to build upon the hard work and experience of the HUD homeless programs and restore our promise to prevent and end homelessness for all."

The HEARTH Act is the first significant reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs in nearly 20 years and allocates millions more to homelessness prevention, rapidly re-housing homeless families, and providing permanent supportive housing for homeless people with disabilities. It also modernizes and streamlines housing and services to more efficiently meet the needs of people seeking assistance.

Roman applauded the efforts of both congressional and coalition partners, specifically thanking Sens. Jack Reed (D - RI) and Kit Bond (R - MO), as well as Reps. Maxine Waters (D - CA) and Barney Frank (D -MA) for their courageous leadership and persistence on the issue. Roman also thanked President Obama for exemplifying the political will to apply proven solutions to prevent and end homelessness for all.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Homelessness Counts Media Map

Click here to see the interactive map

Permanent Supportive Housing Studies


There have been several recent studies published that document the cost savings and effectiveness associated with permanent supportive housing interventions for chronically homeless individuals.

Recent Cost Offset Studies
The April 1, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association included the article, "Health Care and Public Service Use and Costs Before and After Provision of Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons with Severe Alcohol Problems," which reports on the results of a Housing First initiative in Seattle, WA known as "1811 Eastlake". This study compared 95 Housing First participants, with 39 wait-list control members and found cost reductions of over 50 percent for the Housing First group. While it is not the first published evidence of the service use reductions and cost savings that permanent supportive housing interventions can provide, it is worth highlighting because the level of the cost savings - almost $30,000 per person per year after accounting for housing program costs - are greater than some seminal studies that have shown more modest cost offsets through permanent supportive housing. The study is also noteworthy as one of several recent cost offset studies that have been released already this year. For example, a study of permanent supportive housing in Illinois showed a 39 percent decrease in the total cost of service provision, and a study involving 12 homeless service providers across Massachusetts found a 67 percent decrease in Medicaid costs for Housing First participants.

Outcomes of Permanent Supportive Housing
There is also recent research that directly addresses the well-being of permanent supportive housing residents. The April 2009 issue of the Journal of Community Psychology included an article entitled, "Housing Stability among Homeless Individuals with Severe Mental Illness Participating in Housing First Programs." The authors of this article reviewed the outcomes of participants in three different Housing First programs in New York City, San Diego, CA and Seattle, WA and found that 84 percent of participants remained stably housed after 12 months. The authors also evaluated level of impairment related to psychiatric symptoms and substance abuse at baseline and 12 months and found no significant improvement in substance abuse or mental health impairment with permanent supportive housing.

Full citations of all of the above-referenced reports/articles.

Pearson, C, Montgomery, A.E., and Locke, G. "Housing Stability among Homeless Individuals with Serious Mental Illness Participating in Housing First Programs," Journal of Community Psychology 37, no. 3 (2009) 404-417.

Larimer, M.E., Malone, D.K., Gardner, M.; et al. "Health Care and Public Service Use and Costs Before and After Provision of Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons with Severe Alcohol Problems," Journal of the American Medical Association 301, no. 13 (2009) 1349-1357.

The Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty. 2009. Supportive Housing in Illinois: A Wise Investment.

Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance. 2009. Home and Healthy for Good: A Statewide Housing First Program. Progress Report March 2009.

National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2009. Out of Reach 2007-2008: Persistent Problems, New Challenges for Renters.

Technical Assistance Collaborative. 2009. Priced Out in 2008.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

HEARTH Act Passed the Senate!

Today, the full Senate unanimously approved the Reed/Bond amendment to attach the HEARTH Act to S. 896. The Senate also approved S. 896, which means the HEARTH Act is closer to being finalized.

We are VERY grateful for the tireless work of our national, state, and local partners, along with several key Congressional staff who helped push this through the Senate.
**Please join us in thanking Senators and their staff for supporting the HEARTH Act and urging them to take the appropriate steps to ensure that it remains in the final bill.
Next Steps
S. 896 will now proceed to the conference stage in the coming weeks. Because the HEARTH Act amendment achieved such wide support in the Senate, we are hopeful that the conference committee will decide to include the HEARTH Act in the final bill. Then full House and Senate must approve the final version of S.896 and send it to the President for his signature before it becomes law. We will continue to update you at key points in the process.

See the Alliance's Online News Alert for additional key provisions included in S. 896Source: