Housing First Key to Ending Chronic Homelessness

Dr. Brenner of Camden Recommends
Partnering and Prioritizing Frequent Users

Dr. Jeffrey BrennerIn his testimony prepared for the New Jersey Interagency Council on Homelessness, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner makes the case for government cooperation to more widely implement the Housing First model in New Jersey.

The Interagency Council on Homelessness hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at from 1 – 4 PM at the NJ State Museum Auditorium. Click here for more details.

Dr. Brenner is the Executive Director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and was a winner of a 2013 MacArthur genius grant.

For the past twelve years, the Coalition has worked to improve the healthcare system for vulnerable populations, including the homeless, in Camden. On a related note, the innovative healthcare work that is taking place in Camden, at the Cooper Advanced Care Center, was featured on the National Public Radio Marketplace program on February 11, 2014 in a segment, “Healthcare teams ‘wrapped around’ patients.”

Writes Brenner,

“The impact of homelessness is not contained to a single social safety net program.”

Brenner offers the Housing First model as a cost-effective, best practice solution to the chronic homelessness that he and his healthcare colleagues face. Housing First moves the homeless individual or household immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own apartments and stabilizes them with “wrap around services.”

He makes the following recommendations to help his homeless patients end their cycles of chronic illness and homelessness by moving into permanent, affordable housing:

  • State government agencies should partner to address the most costly homeless patients;
  • Prioritize these most frequent users of expensive emergency healthcare services for permanent housing; and
  • Make the Housing First model a key component of the state’s plan to end homelessness.

Click here for Dr. Brenner’s testimony.

Click here for the Marketplace segment.