New research released by Mission Australia has demonstrated the significant cost savings that can be achieved when housing support with wrap-around services is provided for chronically homeless men.

Mission Australia’s philanthropically-funded Michael’s Intensive Supported Housing Accord (MISHA) project is a three year housing-first pilot that provides long term housing with holistic case management support to assist 74 men to break the cycle of long-term homelessness and rough sleeping in Sydney.

A study on the project’s first 12 month previously found that almost 100% of participants had maintained their tenancy over that first year – a remarkable result. Now, a new sub-study looking specifically at the tenancy outcomes and the costs of providing the additional case management services has revealed the impact of these result also generated significant financial savings.

By reducing costs, this report shows a housing-first approach can achieve savings for the community and public housing system.

The key findings of the sub-study include:

  • 97% of clients were still living in their properties 12 months after being housed
  • Savings generated within the housing system as a result of successful tenancies were estimated at $1,880 per client in the first 12 months of the client being housed
  • The total net savings to community housing providers generated by providing tenancy support services to 74 MISHA clients over a one year period were estimated at almost $140,000

The MISHA project’s ‘housing-first’ approach is about providing homeless people with immediate access to long-term, sustainable accommodation, rather than an initial stop-gap stay in a homeless shelter. Once a person has the foundation of a home they then receive intensive support to address their issues and maintain their tenancy.

Case workers play a crucial role helping clients sustain tenancies through educating clients about their responsibilities as a tenant, advocating on behalf of clients to address tenancy issues, acting as an intermediary to facilitate communication between the client and social housing provider and assisting clients to work through their substance use and other mental health problems.

Catherine Yeomans

 

Catherine Yeomans
CEO Mission Australia
@cathyeomans

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