Ending Chronic Homelessness: Housing First
Our foundation is a founding partner of the Housing First initiative, which began in 2002 to address chronic homelessness by providing residents with safe, permanent housing and voluntary supportive services in the areas of mental health, employment, alcohol or drug dependency and health care.
Focused on individuals with the longest histories of homelessness and severe and persistent disability, the Housing First initiative has created nearly 800 units of permanent supportive housing (PSH) in our community. PSH is an evidence-based practice that offers affordable housing with little to no conditions to very vulnerable homeless individuals. Voluntary supportive services are offered on-site to help residents overcome issues that might threaten long-term housing stability, such as uncontrolled physical, mental, and/or behavioral health issues. The Housing First initiative is led by Enterprise Community Partners and was created in 2002 in partnership with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and the local Office of Homeless Services.
Since the first Housing First project opened in 2006, Cuyahoga County has seen a 73% decrease in the rate of chronic homelessness. In 2020, the Housing First initiative reached 781 units occupied or under development across Cleveland; enough housing to meet the needs of all individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in our community.
Our continued investment will ensure that permanent supportive housing will remain available to all individuals experience chronic homelessness in our community.
People who are chronically homeless have experienced homelessness for at least a year – or repeatedly – while struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability. (Definition from National Alliance to End Homelessness)