One in Four Street Homeless Report Substance Abuse

Housing First Proves Cost Effective Once Again

One in Four Street Homeless Report Substance AbuseA recent Washington Post Storyline blog post, “One in four people living on the street say they have chronic drug or alcohol problems” highlights the problem of chronic homelessness and a proven best practice solution.

Using data from the 2013 point in time count, the post breaks down the chronic homelessness numbers for that year and tracks trends going back six years showing that 60% of the chronically homeless population reported a substance abuse issue.

The success of the Housing First model makes the case for a solution to chronic homelessness that gives individuals a “roof over their heads with few strings attached.” Again and again, Housing First has been proven to be cost effective,

“For instance, a two-year study in Seattle showed that homeless alcoholics began to moderate their drinking after getting free housing.

The results are particularly encouraging because these men and women had been selected for being some of city’s toughest and most expensive cases, cycling in and out of hospitals, sobering centers and jails. Though many still had problems with addiction, they saved the city money by needing fewer services. Paying their rent, it turns out, was cheaper than paying for their jail and emergency-room visits.”

Click here for the full blog post.