Friday News Roundup: new HUD study, plus healthcare and homelessness

written by naehblog
March 26, 2010
This week, HUD released a study that supports this argument we’ve been making for years:emergency shelter is actually more expensive for society than providing permanent housing. Along those lines, the latest in our series of seriously neat interactive tools, which we launched this week, illustrates the cost savings to communities with permanent supportive housing. You can read more on the new HUD study on’s End Homelessness blog or in USA Today
As this week began, a historic piece of healthcare legislation was passed in the House and signed by President Obama. While kinks get worked out and the fight continues, we’re focusing on how reform will impact people experiencing homelessness. On Monday, we talked about why healthcare matters in the fight against homelessness and in the Huffington Post, Deborah De Santis of the Corporation for Supportive Housing made a convincing case:
The administration’s proposal includes expanding Medicaid to everyone who earns below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Currently, permanent supportive housing projects across the country are constantly trying to find funding to pay for mental health services, substance abuse treatment, primary health care and intensive case management services. Expanded Medicaid insurance coverage will allow supportive housing providers to focus on providing services, rather than chasing after funding.
The full article is definitely worth a read. 
Speaking of healthcare, the Street Roots blog published a stellar interview with Jim O’Connell, one of the founding physicians of Healthcare for the Homeless in Boston. It makes clear exactly how urgent the healthcare crisis is for people living on the streets. O’Connell says:
I think that we need to do everything we can to raise awareness of what I would call the public health emergency of people living on the streets. Their mortality rates are so high. The outcomes from their illnesses are so appalling. If this were any other population, we would have major programs to address health disparities.
Here at the Alliance, we published an new brief on chronic homelessness, which emphasizes the importance of housing for treating people like the ones O’Connell works with. Check it out here.
Before the week is out, check out the Open House blog: it’s chock-full of information about the National Housing Center’s Housing Solutions week.
While you’re in the blogosphere, check out the Coalition for Central Florida’s Top Ten Myths about Homelessness and this post from Jason Small, Policy Director at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, which discusses the disconnect between working on big ideas and talking to people day to day.
Whew! What a week. Stay tuned til next week, when we’ll discuss the rise in street homelessness in NYC.