An October 17, 2013 City Limits article, “Let’s Treat Housing as a Health Issue,” highlights that through New York’s Medicaid reform, Governor Cuomo set aside $75 million of health care funding for supportive housing people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
This will help individuals and households who face a higher risk of premature death, developmental delays in children and chronic illness such as tuberculosis, diabetes and mental illness. While much more funding is needed to end chronic homelessness, New York’s initial investment sets a wonderful example.
Study after study has shown that the stable housing helps the chronically homeless stabilize their health.
“The thing we figured out,’ according to U.S. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, ‘is that it’s actually cheaper, not just better for people, but cheaper to solve homelessness than it is to put a band-aid on it. Because at the end of the day it costs, between shelters and emergency rooms and jails, it costs $40,000 a year for a homeless person to be on the streets.’”
In New York City, the Medicaid funding is creating a new affordable and supportive housing development in the Bronx. The City “is known for its high intensity public health campaigns, from anti-smoking to nutrition labeling, promotion of physical activity and the attempt to outlaw large sugary drinks … Maybe the next big thing, the biggest potential public health bang for our tax bucks, might be housing the homeless.”