Chronic Homelessness


National Alliance to End Homelessness

Federal Policy Brief | March 12, 2007

Files: PDF | 92 KB | 4 pages

This brief on chronic homelessness describes the characteristics, causes, and solutions of chronic homelessness. The brief summarizes the interaction between emergency shelters, health care systems, and criminal justice and chronic homelessness. It also describes the benefits and cost effectiveness of permanent supportive housing and the success that many communities have achieved.

 This brief answers the following questions:

  • What is chronic homelessness?
  • What is the solution to chronic homelessness?
  • Why focus on chronic homelessness?

Numerous studies have shown that ending chronic homelessness is cost-effective. This brief examines some of the cost reductions associated with using permanent supportive housing to end chronic homelessness. The chart below captures some of those cost savings.

cost savings graph

Lastly, this brief provides a quick overview of current federal policy on chronic homelessness and the government's commitment to ending chronic homelessness, as well as examples of how communities across the country are reducing chronic homelessness:

  • Denver, CO reduced homelessness by 11.5 percent in the metro region, including a reduction in street homelessness from 1,000 to 600 people between January 2005 and March 2007.
  • Over several years, Philadelphia, PA has reduced street homelessness by more than half.
  • In December 2004, Portland, OR had an estimated 1,600 chronically homeless individuals. During 2005, they housed 660 of them.

Click here to download the full brief.