Housing is the Best Pill
Makes the Case for Housing First
Recently, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) invited Dr. Jeffrey Brenner of the Camden Coalition of Health Care Providers to discuss his groundbreaking “hot spotting” work, through which he found that the highest cost users of health care services in the city of Camden were living in HUD-assisted housing or experiencing significant housing challenges and homelessness.
Through this work, he discovered that in order to improve the health of people with complex health needs and lower costs, health care must also address housing and social circumstances.
“Many of the patients we identified are the same chronically homeless people you have been working to house,” Dr. Brenner explained. For these individuals, he added, “housing is the best pill.”
Dr. Brenner in his written testimony for the NJ Interagency Council on Homelessness hearing he stated:
“The impact of homelessness is not contained to a single social safety net program.”
He stressed that “housing First model as a cost-effective, best practice solution to the chronic homelessness that he and his healthcare colleagues face.”
As a result of the work of Dr. Brenner and the Camden Coalition, evidence that permanent supportive housing improves health and lowers health care costs is spreading. Just recently, Congressman Paul Ryan’s assessment of Federal anti-poverty efforts, while critical of many Federal programs, noted that supportive housing programs “have been shown to decrease homelessness and reduce costs related to health care and institutionalization.”