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Santa Fe New Mexican: Santa Fe agencies use Housing First model to fight homelessness

Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The model is simple: Find housing for homeless people, no matter if they are grappling with mental and behavioral health issues or hooked on alcohol or drugs. There are no prerequisites.
  |  December 21, 2020

A University of North Carolina study released last month on the effects of a Housing First program in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County area said that of the 1,000 people it placed in housing, three quarters of those residents stayed housed and off the streets. The average number of county police and health officer calls to shelters dropped significantly as a result.

The report found a savings of $2.50 for every $10 spent on Housing First in terms of such calls and responses. (It also noted food insecurity remained an issue among Housing First clients, in that they either did not have transportation or access to a grocery store to buy food.)

Ochoa said the city’s success in leveraging $2 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to help finance the purchase of the 122-unit Santa Fe Suites hotel on South St. Francis Drive will help the Housing First initiative.

The New York-based nonprofit Community Solutions, which works to end homelessness, will set up a local limited liability corporation to manage the property, said Alexandra Ladd, the city’s director of affordable housing.