Homelessness Decreased Faster As Investment if Permanent, Supportive Housing Increases
In June 2014, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania released a study that explores the relationship between community investment in permanent supportive housing (PSH) and chronic homelessness.
The data indicate a statistically significant reduction in the number of chronically homeless people as communities invest in additional PSH units.
This relationship is more pronounced over time. On average among the communities studied between 2007 and 2012, the mean number of PSH beds rose by 57% while the mean rates of chronic homelessness decreased 35%.
PSH programs provide permanent subsidized housing along with ongoing supportive services. According to the study, increasing investment in PSH units resulted in a decrease in chronic homelessness over time.
When controlling for shelter availability and community characteristics, the study predicts that an increase of one PSH unit per 10,000 adults can be associated with a 2% decrease in the un-sheltered rate of chronically homeless people in the initial year, with a stronger effect on decreasing homelessness over time.
The study findings are consistent with studies at the individual level, which find PSH to be an effective approach to addressing chronic homelessness. Further research is needed to determine the best community-level strategies to target more PSH units to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.