Online Program

Comparative costs and benefits of permanent supportive housing before and after chronic homelessness

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

David Patterson, PhD, MSW, College of Social Work, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Stacia West, MSSW, School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
The provision of housing and supportive care to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness remains an ongoing challenge to many communities. The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of permanent supportive housing (PSH) on the cost and frequency of services used by a sample of the chronically homeless population in Knox County, Tennessee. Using data drawn from healthcare and mental health providers, the local homeless management information system, and law enforcement agencies; we compared 1) service utilization one year prior to entering PSH to the first year in PSH and 2) costs associated with services pre and post PSH. Forty-one individuals over the age of 18 consented to participate in the study. Service utilization rates decreased post-PSH in nearly half of measured domains. We found a 56% decrease the cost of community services compared to one year before PSH. Mental health services costs decreased by 23% from pre to post PSH. Healthcare costs increased 30% or $3,198 per capita after PSH placement. However, 7% of medically ill subjects accounted for 90% of the post-housing inpatient charges and outpatient hospital costs 72% of those costs post-housing. Removing this small group of healthcare cost outliers from the analysis, we examined the total per capita community costs (community services, mental health services, and healthcare). In this outliers removed analysis, we found a 12% decrease in total per capita community costs post PSH. This study points to the potential for broad community costs savings resulting from placing chronically homeless individuals in PSH.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the role that permanent supportive housing (PSH) can play in improving formerly homeless individuals access to care. Explain how PSH can reduce community cost associated with care provision to homeless individuals. Discuss how multiple local data sources can be combined to measure and strengthen access to care for homeless individuals.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Access to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor of Social Work at the University of Tennessee and the founding Director and principle investigator of the HUD and community funded Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (KnoxHMIS) since 2004. The focus of my research and public service is the application of information technology in the delivery of human services and the shaping of public policy affecting homeless individuals and families.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.