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United Housing First
United Housing First
Ending Chronic Homelessness One Permanent Home at a Time
Financial stability comes from having an income that is adequate to pay for today’s necessities and to save for the future, but too many working parents don’t have the resources they need to obtain work, to earn enough to provide for their families, and to achieve good health.
Over 1,500 people are homeless in Mercer County at any given time.
The annual homeless Point in Time Count in 2011 revealed that there were 843 homeless, 269 of whom were children. 38% of the homeless counted had been homeless for over a year.
The biggest factors contributing to homelessness were: loss of job; family/relationship breakup, loss or death; alcohol/drug abuse; housing costs not affordable; eviction; mental illness; medical problems; and domestic violence. Most programs will not house someone unless they commit to services.
Using the nationally recognized best practice of “Housing First,” United Way and the Mercer Alliance have put together a coalition of federal, state and local funders to end chronic homelessness in Mercer County. Consumers are placed in their own apartment without having to commit to services; they are given the choice of participating in various programs at their own pace. It is the permanent housing that stabilizes them and allows them to get back on their feet and move toward financial stability and self-sufficiency.
• Greater Trenton Behavioral Health Care – wrap around case management services
• 84 homeless individuals and families have been placed in permanent homes
• Only five (5) of those left the program (two died, one was incarcerated, and two moved)
• 90% reported overall satisfaction with the program
• 76% reported improved quality of life
Why Invest in United Housing First?
• By providing a permanent home, our program saved society an average of $9,500 per year in medical and other costs due to decreased use of emergency rooms and shelters
• This translates to $798,000 in system savings by permanently housing these 84 consumers. Rather than using up vital community resources, these consumers now can contribute to their community as consumers and tax payers, and move toward fi nancial stability and economic self-sufficiency
• Providing a permanent home gives a person a sense of belonging, safety, and self-worth that grounds them in life and in the community. Having a home allows people to hope and to pursue their goals of education and employment without worrying about where they will sleep and eat and keep their belongings. It gives them a future with direction and goals.
• Employees who volunteer through their workplace report more positive attitudes toward their employer and their co-workers. Further, those who volunteer are more positive about their own physical and emotional health than non-volunteers.
• Top-level executives recognize the bottom-line value of corporate citizenship because it enhances a company’s reputation and image, is valued by customers and helps recruit and retain employees.
• Each consumer saved an average of $9,500 per year in medical and other costs due to decreased use of emergency rooms and shelters. This translates to over $600,000 in system savings by permanently housing these 64 consumers. Rather than using up vital community resources, these consumers now can contribute to their community and move toward self-sufficiency.