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HOUSINGfirst - Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services
...providing permanent solutions to long-term homelessness
is an initiative that was established in April, 2002 to provide permanent housing solutions for persons with disabilities who experience long-term homelessness.
On any given night, a majority of homeless individuals in Cleveland’s emergency shelters are long term homeless individuals. Almost all of the long-term homeless have behavioral or physical health disabilities. In Cleveland, over 20% of the long-term homeless are veterans, a higher percentage than the national average.
The Permanent Supportive Housing model provides “housing first”….moving people into stable housing and then linking them with services on site. A key distinction is that services and treatment programs are available and encouraged, but not mandatory.
has set a goal of developing 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing for single adults with histories of long term homelessness and disabilities. As of November, 2007, 186 apartments have been built and an additional 225 are either in construction or will begin construction within the next 6 months. Over 400 “HOUSINGfirst
” apartments will be occupied by the end of 2008.
National Alliance to End Homelessness
Corporation for Supportive Housing
are national leaders in documenting the need for and the effectiveness of permanent supportive housing as a key component in our nation’s efforts to end homelessness. National studies indicate that HOUSINGfirst initiatives are not only a more humane way to respond to the needs of long-term disabled people, but are also a more cost effective way.
Enterprise Community Partners
Sisters of Charity Foundation
, the Mayor of Cleveland and the County Commissioners have taken leadership roles in introducing and guiding the development of the HOUSINGfirst
Several non profit agencies have joined together to build and operate the projects. Key providers include:
Cleveland Housing Network
AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland
Mental Health Services, Inc.
US Department of Veterans Affairs
After close to one year of operation, preliminary data from Cleveland seems to confirm what national studies have found about the housing first approach – over 90% of the initial residents remain in their apartments (and almost all who have left have gone into other permanent housing). Almost all residents are engaged in services. Almost half the residents are participating in volunteer or educational activities or are employed, and rates of emergency room and hospitalization have been substantially reduced.