Homeless Crisis Demands More Supportive Housing

Posted on May 12, 2011

Eileen at home in a Fountian House supportive apartmentEileen at home in a Fountian House supportive apartmentBeth Stubenbord
Director of Housing, Fountain House

According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the most recent count of homeless men and women in the city reveals that there are 113,553 individuals living in shelters. This number is the highest since the Great Depression.

It’s imperative that we devote more resources to the development and implementation of supportive housing to end this social blight. Supportive housing is any of a variety of settings that provide services – such as linkages to community resources, budgeting assistance, or help with maintaining living spaces - in conjunction with an affordable and dignified place to live.  It is both a cost-effective and long-term solution that empowers people and allows them to focus on rebuilding their lives – whether through education, employment, developing a social network, or other goals.

Maintaining a permanent apartment with supportive services in Fountain House’s supportive housing program costs approximately $15,000 per person annually. In comparison a New York City municipal shelter costs the city approximately $20,000 per person annually, and a psychiatric hospitalization costs approximately $150,000 per person annually.
The development and implementation of supportive housing is the most affordable, humane, and realistic solution to our current housing crisis.

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