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Incorporate Key Elements of Behavioral Health Services Integral to Housing Intervention34

These are the key elements of a robust, evidence-based behavioral health system. Considering the availability of these elements supports the needs of the target population.

Housing First was developed to meet the needs of homeless individuals with serious mental illness and substance use challenges. The overlap with the top one percent of individuals using a costly site of health care but whose needs are better met in the community is significant. As many as 70 percent of these individuals have a mental illness, 50 percent have a SUD, as many as one-third are dealing with opioid dependence and close to half are homeless. Housing First approaches that target this high-need, high-cost population are among the most cost-effective.35,36,37,38,39

Case Study: 1811 Eastlake in Seattle

This single-site Housing First program provides on-site services for chronically homeless people who have alcohol addiction without requiring abstinence or treatment. A 2009 study found that the program saved taxpayers over $4 million in the first year and $2,449 per person per month in health and social services in the first six months while reducing alcohol use by almost one-third. The study also found a correlation between the length of housing stability and reduction in both cost and alcohol consumption.40