A University of Tampa study has documented striking cost savings from using a Housing First model to end homelessness in the Tampa Bay region. The study’s results were shared at a recent meeting of Florida Philanthropic Network’s Tampa Bay Funders Forum, which brings together philanthropic organizations from across the Tampa Bay region.
A Housing First model centers on providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible, and offering them the supportive services and connections to the community they need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness. The Housing First model was implemented at a site in Tampa called Cypress Landing, which opened in early 2013 with support from Hillsborough County and Gracepoint Wellness and funding from the federal government.
A newly released study of Cypress Landing, conducted by researchers at the University of Tampa, documented an overall cost savings to the public of nearly $500,000 over an 18-month period, due to dramatic reductions — by 77% or more — in outpatient and inpatient services, emergency room visits, detox services and incarceration among Cypress Landing residents. The study also documented an overall increase in quality of life reported by these residents, who spoke of having a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. The study’s results were presented to the Tampa Bay Funders Forum by Guy King III and Mike Merrill, board members for the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI).
As one example of how Cypress Landing has changed the lives of its residents, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s records showed that the residents spent a total of 1,140 nights in jail in the 18 months prior to moving into Cypress Landing. In the 18 months after moving into Cypress Landing, that number dropped by 83% to 196 nights in jail, for a cost savings to the public of nearly $68,000. Continue reading