Learning from Supportive Housing Programs in New Jersey: Results from Interviews with Program Leaders

Joel C. Cantor, Emmy Tiderington, Oliver Lontok

Publication Date: 04/01/2019

There is substantial evidence that social factors influence health, health services use, and health care spending. Among these “social determinants of health”, housing is key (Doran, Misa, and Shah 2013). In a single night enumeration in January 2018, there were 9,303 homeless men, women and children in New Jersey, including nearly 1,300 individuals identified as “chronically homeless” (MHA 2018). Further, a 2019 New Jersey telephone poll showed that one-in-ten adults did not have a steady place to live or worried about losing it in the future, including about a quarter of low-income respondents. Published research has shown that providing supportive housing to high-risk homeless populations leads to improvements in self-reported mental health, access to care, and overall wellbeing (Benston 2015; Kandilov et al. 2017; Kersten et al. 2014; Rog et al. 2014; Wright et al. 2016). Further, there is a substantial body of evidence that such supportive housing programs can lead to lower hospital emergency department (ED) and inpatient use as well as overall public system spending (Culhane, Metraux, and Hadley 2002; Kandilov et al. 2017; Kersten et al. 2014; Kyle and Dunn 2008; Ly and Latimer 2015; Martinez and Burt 2006; Rog et al. 2014).