This study examined outcomes of a single-site Housing First program located in an urban city in Washington state compared to a usual care matched control group. Those residing in the Housing First program were eligible for housing because they either a) experienced chronic homelessness, or b) had histories of high utilization of psychiatric inpatient or emergency services and/or difficulty engaging in outpatient mental health treatment. Results revealed that Housing First tenants spent fewer days homeless and in inpatient psychiatric treatment compared to the comparison group, and outcomes were equivalent for those with and without chronic homelessness histories. As Housing First interventions are most often provided to individuals who meet the federal definition of chronic homelessness, findings from this study provide support for an expansion of funding streams for Housing First as an alternative to more restrictive settings for individuals living with mental illness who are potentially vulnerable to chronic homelessness.
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