Systematic review finds permanent supportive housing interventions increased long-term housing stability for homeless individuals

Permanent supportive housing and income assistance are valuable interventions for homeless individuals. Homelessness can reduce physical and social wellbeing, presenting public health risks for infectious diseases, disability, and death.

A systematic review has found that permanent supportive housing and income assistance can reduce homelessness and achieve housing stability for people who are homeless and living in high income countries. 

The review was published in the Lancet Public Health. The lead author is Tim Aubry, is one of the co-chairs of the Ontario Housing First Regional Network Community of Interest and is a professor in the School of Psychology and Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services at University of Ottawa.

About the study

The researchers did a systematic review, meta-analysis, and narrative synthesis to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of permanent supportive housing and income interventions on the health and social wellbeing of people who are homeless and living in high-income countries.

They found that permanent supportive housing interventions increased housing stability after six years for participants with moderate support needs and high support needs when compared with usual care. They did not see any measurable effect of permanent supportive housing on the severity of psychiatric symptoms, substance use, income, or employment outcomes when compared with usual social services.

They also found that Income interventions, such as housing subsidies with case management, had long-term improvements in the number of days that the person was in stable housing. The effects on mental health and employment outcomes were unclear.

Future research should focus on the long-term effects of housing and income interventions on physical and mental health, substance use, and quality-of-life outcomes.

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