Impact of Supportive Housing on Substance Use-Related Health Care Utilization Among Homeless Persons who are Active Substance Users

Sara A. Miller-Archie
Sarah C. Walters
Tejinder P. Singh
Sungwoo Lim
Journal Article
April 2019

Providing supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness who are identified as active substance users resulted in lower rates of SUD-related ED visits and hospitalizations compared to individuals not placed in supportive housing. Over the two-year follow-up period, individuals in supportive housing also were significantly more likely to initiate a new SUD outpatient treatment than individuals who were homeless.

Study participants were part of New York/New York III, a partnership between the state and city of New York to create 9,000 units of supportive housing. Individuals placed in housing received services to improve access to care, but their housing was not dependent on initiation of SUD treatment or abstinence from alcohol or drug use, similar to the “Housing First” model. The results suggest that supportive housing programs can impact acute care utilization and improve health outcomes.

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Population Addressed
People with Behavioral Health and Social Needs
Key Questions Answered
  • What effect does supportive housing have on substance use disorder-related emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations for people who are homeless with substance use disorders (SUD)?
  • Are individuals enrolled in supportive housing more likely to initiate outpatient SUD treatment?
Level of Evidence
What does this mean?