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Psychiatr Serv. 2000 Apr;51(4):479-86.

Tenure in supportive housing for homeless persons with severe mental illness.

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New York City Human Resources Administration, 136 Church Street, New York, 10007, USA.



The study examined the long-term effectiveness of approaches to housing homeless persons with serious mental illness.


A total of 2,937 persons placed in high-, moderate, -and low-intensity housing were followed for up to five years. Intensity reflected on the amount of structure and degree of clients' independence. The outcome variable was tenure in housing. Cox stepwise regression was used to calculate risk ratios of becoming discontinuously housed.


Thirty percent of the sample were initially placed in high-intensity settings, 18 percent in moderate-intensity settings, and 52 percent in low-intensity settings. Those in high-intensity settings tended to be younger, to be referred from hospitals, and to have a history or diagnosis of substance abuse. Individuals in moderate-intensity settings were more likely to be female and were least likely to have substance abuse problems. Individuals in low-intensity settings were more likely to be referred by municipal shelters and to have lived in municipal shelters for four or more months. After one, two, and five years, 75 percent, 64 percent, and 50 percent, respectively, of the sample were continuously housed. Older age was associated with longer tenure, and having a history of substance abuse was associated with shorter tenure. Individuals referred from a state psychiatric center had a greater risk of shorter tenure than other types of referrals.


Results show that homeless persons with serious mental illness can remain in stable housing for periods of up to five years, supporting the premise that long-term residential stability can be enhanced by providing access to safe and affordable supportive housing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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