Trenton Providers Changing Lives and Decreasing Costs
On July 18, 2012, the Times of Trenton profiled three formerly incarcerated and homeless individuals who are successfully living in supportive housing and have rebuilt their lives.
Their changed lives are thanks to the work of Greater Trenton Behavioral Health Care connecting 200 former inmates, rehabilitated patients from state hospitals and other seriously mentally ill people with housing. The agency works closely with the Trenton Health Team in trying to decrease the high rates of emergency room visits by the region’s chronically homeless population.
Nanette Martin twice spent time in prison, one time for 3 ½ years, and was eventually given three mental illness diagnoses. But “now clean, sober and stable for two years, Martin will enroll at Mercer County Community College in the fall for her associate’s degree. She said that having and defending her home has given her a reason to stay off the streets, on her meds, and in good health. ‘I feel good about my place, because I can go in and lock my door. That is the most wonderful thing to me, is to have a lock on my door… , ’”
The article includes key data that shows the significant financial savings associated with supportive housing:
In 2011, New Jersey’s four state psychiatric hospitals housed patients at a rate of $844/day compared to the daily cost of supportive housing at $102/day; and
Once placed in housing, a formerly homeless patient who had previously visited the emergency room more than 450 times in one year, saw her ER visits drop to 26 the following year.
Over the past 6 months, Monarch Housing has been working with urban counties across the state looking out how doing just what Trenton is doing – partnering supportive housing with emergency health providers – can strategically address chronic homelessness and begin to decrease that population.