Moving On: Facilitating Tenants’ Ability to Move from Permanent Supportive Housing to Other Housing

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National Alliance to End Homelessness Leadership Council

Solutions Brief | February 17, 2011

Files: PDF | 52 KB | 4 pages

Permanent supportive housing (PSH) is designed, by definition, to proide long-term supports to help them stabilize in housing and to improve other outcomes, including health and income. Occasionally, however, tenants who were previously homeless and who are living in PSH may eventually require less intensive services and housing supports. The identification of those who can benefit from the changes and the types of needed ongoing supports will be similar between scattered site and single-site facilities.

Tenants may decide they are ready to leave the often highly-structured PSH environment for a range of reasons. Supportive housing can facilitate individuals’ inherent expectation of continual self-improvement by creating opportunities for the tenant to choose new and different housing opportunities.

This kind of “graduation” from PSH facilities can be useful to both the tenant and the system. Tenants receive greater choice in where they want to live, what type of unit they live in, and how their daily activities will be structured. At the same time, tenants who no longer need the intensive and often expensive housing and supportive services can free up resources for other tenants.

Unfortunately, there is no known way of identifying in advance which tenants are the ones for whom a move to more conventional housing might eventually be appropriate. Communities who actively work to move residents from PSH risk unintentionally putting pressure on clients to move on, whether or not they are ready. Careful assessment by both the tenant and case manager is necessary in order to ensure that both the program and client are comfortable with the decision to explore less structured and supportive options.

This brief identifies some promising practices and key lessons learned from pilot programs in Chicago, IL; Seattle, WA; and New York, NY that are designed to help PSH tenants transition into other housing opportunities Lessons include:

  • Eligibility criteria;
  • Barriers to participation;
  • Support provided;
  • Success and replicability; and
  • Key learnings.