Houston Helps Push National 100,000 Homes Campaign Over Finish Line
Local agencies announce that Houston has housed 1,510 chronically homeless individuals since January 2012 as national effort reaches its goal
HOUSTON, Texas (June 11, 2014) —The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, on behalf of the Houston Continuum of Care announced today that Houston has housed 1,510 chronically homeless individuals since January 2012, as part of the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, which today reached its four-year goal of helping communities house 100,000 chronically homeless Americans. That number includes more than 30,000 veterans and represents an estimated annual taxpayer savings of $1.3 billion.
On a national scale, Houston is contributing to the continued downward trend in homelessness. Recently, the Coalition announced that Houston’s homeless population declined by 37 percent, or 3,187 fewer homeless people, since 2011, according to the Point-In-Time Homeless Count conducted on Jan. 30, 2014. Houston is also recognized as part of the 100,000 Homes’ 2.5% Club. Houston is housing 2.867 percent of its most vulnerable citizens each month, and it is ahead of schedule with monthly placement having accomplished 60 percent of its housing placement goal.
“Houston is leading the charge to end chronic homelessness,” said Marilyn Brown, President & CEO of the Coalition. “Our success as part of the 100,000 Homes Campaign proves that permanent housing coupled with support services works.”
Mayor Annise D. Parker joined in celebrating Houston’s accomplishments to end chronic homelessness:
“The leadership of the 100,000 Homes Campaign knows that we must continue to focus on housing as the solution to homelessness, with supportive services added as the guarantee to success. We now look forward to the next accomplishment of ending chronic homelessness in Houston by December 2015. The goal is for every chronically homeless person in Houston to have housing coupled with supportive services,” Parker said.
Communities participating in the 100,000 Homes Campaign have achieved success by doing four things differently:
- First, they hit the streets to identify all of their homeless neighbors by name and build a file on each person’s housing needs.
- Second, they prioritize their most vulnerable and chronically homeless neighbors for the first permanent housing available. This includes those who have been homeless for extended periods of time and those who face serious health conditions associated with an increased risk of death on the streets.
- Third, they adopt the evidence-based “Housing First” approach by moving people into permanent housing right away and work diligently on long-term employment, drug treatment, healthcare and mental health needs only after stable housing has been secured.
- Finally, they use data to streamline their local housing systems and track their monthly progress toward ending homelessness. All communities work toward a goal of housing at least 2.5 percent of their chronically homeless population each month, putting them ahead of the growth curve and on track to end chronic homelessness outright.
Ending Veteran Homelessness
The Campaign’s final tally includes more than 30,000 veterans. This success offers a strong sign for President Obama’s commitment to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Since 2010, homelessness among veterans has dropped by 24 percent and an updated federal estimate due out this summer is expected to show an ongoing decrease. Many Campaign communities have made a special commitment to ending veteran homelessness by partnering with their local VA Medical Centers to connect chronically homeless veterans with federal housing vouchers.
Dramatic Taxpayer Savings
An independent estimate developed by Liana Downey and Associates, a strategic government advisory firm, puts the total taxpayer savings associated with housing 100,000 chronically homeless Americans at more than $1.3 billion annually based on existing studies. This is due to the fact that chronically homeless people make frequent and unnecessary use of emergency services like the emergency room, where a single night’s stay often costs more than a full month’s rent in permanent housing. Connecting these individuals to permanent housing with simple supportive services to help them remain housed dramatically reduces public costs.
Chronically homeless Americans are defined federally as those who have been homeless for one year or more, or more than four times in the past three years, and are dealing with a disabling medical condition. This group accounts for 12 percent to 15 percent of the homeless population yet consumes more than 70 percent of all public dollars spent on homelessness through high emergency service usage.
Ending Homelessness Faster
Communities participating in the Campaign have also achieved significant improvement in their housing performance. On average, communities participating in the Campaign have gone from housing 1.6 percent of their chronically homeless population each month to 5.1 percent — a significant improvement placing many communities on track to end chronic homelessness outright in the next two to three years.
Communities will continue to report new people housed to the 100,000 Homes Campaign until the end of July, which means the Campaign may finish well over its goal of 100,000. Next January, Community Solutions will launch Zero: 2016, a national effort to build on the success of the Campaign by helping communities bring their chronic and veteran homeless populations all the way to zero.
The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County is a non-profit 501(C) 3 whose mission is to provide leadership in the development, advocacy and coordination of community strategies to prevent and end homelessness. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) named Houston as a priority community to help end homelessness. Learn more at www.homelesshouston.org.
Coordinated by Community Solutions, the 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement of more than 230 communities working together to find and house 100,000 of their most vulnerable, chronically homeless neighbors by July 31, 2014. Since the Campaign’s launch in July of 2010, participating communities have found permanent housing for more than 100,000 of their homeless neighbors, including more than 30,000 veterans, at an estimated cost savings to taxpayers of $1.3 billion. The Campaign is led by former Army Captain Becky Kanis of Community Solutions. Learn more at www.100khomes.org and www.cmtysolutions.org.
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