Housing First

Mercer County Reduces Individual Homelessness by 49% since 2007.

Changing Policy, Changes Lives

Mercer County adopted a HOUSING FIRST  approach to help those with long histories of homelessness.  This approach  is based on the premise that the security of a home in necessary for everyone to function.  Once stable, the person can, with supportive services,  then address their behavioral health and medical problems.

In Mercer County, long term homelessness has decreased by 68% since 2007, compared to  a 40% overall reduction in New Jersey.

Point in Time Count of Chronically Homeless in Mercer County

Point in Time Count of Homeless Individuals by Year

Housing First has an impact!

We now know that with the right program and supports, persons with long histories of homelessness and often times with mental health and substance abuse issues, can be housed and can remain in housing.   Once stabilized in a home, they can begin to deal with their mental health and addiction problems.

To date, over 200 homeless persons with long histories of homelessness, most with mental health or substance abuse problems, have been successfully housed.

Only 2 tenants, of the 200 persons in the Housing First program, have returned to homelessness

Housing First saves medical costs.  For those with Emergency Room or In – Patient usage prior to enrollment, there has been a 50% decrease in the average annual costs of medical care.

Housing First is the favored approach for helping chronically homeless people return to society. Housing First maintains that the first step is housing, in the form of one’s own apartment, along with the necessary supports to succeed in making that apartment a permanent home. A trusted case manager helps the homeless individual or family resolve the problems that caused them to become homeless.

Housing First Works!


Click here to read about Mercer’s Experience with Housing First.

Trenton health care program gives a home to former inmates and patients with mental illnesses

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