Housing for the Chronically Homeless
VOA opened the first permanent housing facility in Rochester designed to meet the unique needs of chronically homeless individuals. Chronic homelessness is characterized by long-term or repeated episodes of homelessness, cycling between living on the streets, in shelters, parking garages, and even downtown’s abandoned subway.
Many chronically homeless individuals suffer from mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. This results in sporadic stays in emergency rooms, shelters, and treatment centers. But short-term stays and an inability to follow up for consistent treatment results in a return to homelessness. Inconsistent housing and care makes it difficult for chronically homeless individuals to address the challenges they face.
The facility is a “Housing First” model of care, a client-driven strategy that provides immediate access to an apartment and then offers a range of support services to help individuals maintain housing and manage their mental health and/or addiction issues. It consists of 11 private studio apartments, each with a kitchenette. There is also a common area for socializing, on-site laundry and convenient access to public transportation.
Studies have shown that the cost of ignoring the chronically homeless can range from $35,000 to $150,000 a year per person in medical, psychological, and other services. Alternately, providing supportive housing solutions for the chronically homeless costs as little as $13,000 a year per person.
You can learn more by reading the report on chronic homelessness produced by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.