December 31, 2013 – The Health Department today issued a new report showing that the New York/New York III (NY/NY III) Supportive Housing program, which provides housing and supportive services for various at-risk populations, results in residents spending fewer days in institutions and cost savings. The intergovernmental agreement, signed in 2005, reflected a landmark commitment by New York State and New York City governments to jointly create 9,000 new supportive housing units in New York City serving nine vulnerable populations, including individuals and heads of families who are chronically homeless or at risk of homelessness, have serious mental illness, substance use disorders, disabling medical conditions or HIV/AIDS, or who are aging out of foster care. Since it was launched in 2007, more than 7,700 individuals and families have been placed in NY/NYIII housing, and more than 4,700 individuals and families are currently housed.
“People with mental illnesses and substance use disorders are less likely to use the medical care, homeless shelter, or criminal justice systems when they have access to affordable, safe and reliable housing, in conjunction with needed supports,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
“Supportive housing has helped some of the city’s most vulnerable residents move into stable affordable housing while simultaneously addressing their treatment and service needs,” said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. “The housing we’ve developed has reduced homelessness and the likelihood of hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and decreased costly institutional care.”
“This is one more compelling instance in more than a decade of independent research that confirms what is clear to anyone familiar with supportive housing – the provision of a decent apartment and pragmatic, person-centered services not only improves the lives of vulnerable people, it saves taxpayer dollars,” said Supportive Housing of New York Executive Director Ted Houghton. “Kudos to the many dedicated employees of the City of New York for producing an excellent example of just how much a well-planned, cross-agency collaboration can achieve.”
The report compared the use of health, criminal justice and social services of NY/NY III tenants during their first year living in NY/NY III with service use by individuals and heads of families who were eligible for NY/NY III housing but were not housed in the program due to more demand than supply. The NY/NY III residents were less likely than eligible but unplaced applicants to have several types of hospitalizations and emergency department visits during one year of follow-up time. Placed NY/NY III tenants spent fewer days in jail than unplaced eligible applicants across almost all populations, and individuals and families placed in NY/NY III spent fewer days in shelters.
Overall, the report shows that public sector expenditures for NY/NY III tenants were, on average when multiple populations were combined, approximately $10,100 less than for unplaced individuals during the first year of living in NY/NY III housing. Lower per capita expenditures were found for several institutional services, including jail (approximately $1,300 less), single adult shelter (approximately $5,400 less), family shelter (approximately $1,500 less), and state-operated inpatient psychiatric hospitals (approximately $18,700 less).
To view the report, please visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/mental/housing-interim-report.pdf.