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Chronic Homelessness - Policy
|Strengthening federal commitment – through an investment in permanent supportive housing programs – can end chronic homelessness.|
On a single night in 2016, 77,486 homeless individuals were considered chronically homeless. Since 2007, that number has declined by 35 percent due – at least in part – to an increase in the amount of permanent supportive housing in the country.
A chronically homeless individual is someone who has a disability and has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or someone who has a disability and has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years. A homeless family with an adult member who meets this description would also be considered chronically homeless.
Many people experiencing chronic homelessness live with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and may struggle with alcohol or drug addiction.
The solution to chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing is cost-effective: a landmark study of homeless individuals with serious mental illness in New York City found that, on average, more than $23,000 was saved to publicly-funded systems for each constructed unit of permanent supportive housing.
Key federal programs to prevent and end chronic homelessness include: