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|The solution to chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing – permanent housing coupled with supportive services as needed.|
Chronic homelessness is defined as long-term or repeated homelessness. Chronically homeless people have a serious physical or mental disability, including mental illnesses like schizophrenia, and may also struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. For this population, permanent housing linked to intensive services is usually necessary to achieve stability.
Permanent supportive housing has been shown to be not only successful at ending chronic homelessness, but is also often cost-efficient. People experiencing long-term homelessness often incur significant public costs – through emergency room visits, run-ins with law enforcement, incarceration, and access to existing poverty and homeless programs. A number of cost and case studies have demonstrated that permanent supportive housing largely or totally offsets these costs while ending homelessness.
The vast majority of people who experience chronic homelessness interact with multiple service systems, providing an opportunity to prevent their homelessness in the first place. Promising prevention strategies focus on people who are leaving hospitals, psychiatric facilities, substance abuse treatment programs, prisons, and jails.