There are more than 1100 homeless adults and 1800 homeless children in Potter County, and the average age of the homeless population in our community is 11 years old according to established census data. The wait list for low income permanent housing assistance can be upwards of 5 years, and there is not sufficient temporary or transitional shelter available to accommodate the need.
Housing First is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing and then providing additional supports and services as needed. It is an approach first popularized by Sam Tsemberis and Pathways to Housing in New York in the 1990s and is a results proven method that has been adopted by states and municipalities across the country and around the world. Housing First enables access to permanent housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter. Supportive services are offered but participation is not required as services have been found to be more effective when a person chooses to engage.
Evidence demonstrates that consumers in a Housing First model access housing faster and are more likely to remain stably housed, and a variety of studies have shown that between 75 percent and 91 percent of households remain housed a year after housing is established. More extensive studies report an increase in perceived levels of autonomy, choice, and control in Housing First programs. Clients using supportive services are more likely to participate in job training programs, attend school, discontinue substance use, have fewer instances of domestic violence, and spend fewer days hospitalized than those not participating. Finally, permanent supportive housing has been found to be cost efficient. Providing access to housing generally results in cost savings for communities because housed people are less likely to use emergency services, including hospitals, jails, and emergency shelters, than those who are homeless.
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