I just received this email from the gang over at Miriam’s Kitchen:
How to end chronic homelessness? Permanent supportive housing is the answer.
What is permanent supportive housing? It’s housing that is permanent with support services attached. Those support services include things like help obtaining and maintaining benefits, finding and keeping employment, and accessing health, mental health and addiction treatment services.
Who is it for? Permanent supportive housing is intended for people who have been homeless for a long time, have a disability, and need extra support to be successful in housing. Approximately 80% of our guests fit this profile, which is why permanent supportive housing is so important to us.
Why is permanent supportive housing the answer? Because it gives people the opportunity to work on their issues while in a safe space. Our guests don’t necessarily have different problems than any of us do, it’s just harder to work on them while living on the street. Imagine how tough it would be to accomplish your goals if you always had to worry about where you were going to get your next meal or lay your head down at night. Also, because it works. DC has the highest permanent supportive housing retention rate in the country (at 94%) and we’ve seen great improvements from the guests we’ve helped get into housing. The changes a person undergoes while moving from the streets into a permanent place of their own are truly amazing.
That’s why permanent supportive housing is the answer.
How many people are housed in permanent supportive housing? At last count (January 2011), there were 3,155 individuals and 669 families housed in permanent supportive housing in Washington, DC. Of that number, about 200 are Miriam’s Kitchen guests. But, there are many more chronically homeless individuals in DC that need to be housed and permanent supportive housing is the way to do it.
What is Miriam’s Kitchen doing to be part of the solution? Great question! We’re currently doing a lot, and exploring even more:
- We are one of the links to available permanent supportive housing units for our guests. We make sure our guests know what’s available and help them through the application process.
- We support our guests who have received housing by providing some of the support services they need to stay in housing. Because they trust us already, we’re able to best help them through the tough times.
- We advocate for the funding of current permanent supportive housing units, and for the creation of even more. Because of budget pressures in DC, the growth of permanent supportive housing has stopped so we’re working hard to make sure permanent supportive housing remains a priority.
- We’re looking into ways we can become even more involved with permanent supportive housing directly so that we can leverage the great relationships and understanding we have with the chronically homeless in DC.
How can you help? You’ve done a lot already just by learning more about permanent supportive housing. But if you want to become more involved, you can volunteer with our Case Management staff (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) or learn more about our upcoming advocacy efforts (by emailing email@example.com). Or, you can donate to support the ways we’re helping our guests take advantage of permanent supportive housing (by clicking here).