HCN News & Notes

MHA Honored for Innovative Work to Address Homelessness

SPRINGFIELD — MHA was recognized by the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA) with a Cornerstone Award for the agency’s efforts as a leading Home & Healthy for Good provider. MHA’s recognition was part of MHSA’s annual meeting on Dec. 11 in Boston.

“It’s quite validating to know that, throughout the state, community leaders acknowledge the value of MHA’s good work involving a difficult population to serve,” said Cheryl Fasano, president and CEO of MHA. “Housing is a cost-effective and humane solution to homelessness — one that brings stability to individuals’ lives, regardless of their health histories or personal challenges. We know that addressing the wide-ranging needs of these people can be especially challenging, but we are committed to serving them with respect, integrity, and compassion.”

Through its Home & Healthy for Good program, MHA demonstrates that providing housing and supportive services to chronically homeless individuals through a low-threshold, housing-first model is less costly and more effective than managing their homelessness and health problems on the street or in a shelter. The Home & Healthy for Good initiative is at the forefront of a significant paradigm shift in how Massachusetts addresses the costly phenomenon of homelessness. This is particularly true for chronically homeless individuals and individuals who represent the highest usage of emergency public services.

Since 2006, Home & Healthy for Good providers across Massachusetts have placed 1,011 chronically homeless adults, including 196 veterans, into permanent housing with supportive services. Home & Healthy for Good results show a trend toward savings in healthcare costs, especially hospitalizations, when chronically homeless individuals are placed into housing with services. Once in housing, individuals are safer than they were on the streets or in shelter, experiencing fewer accidents and injuries that require immediate attention.

With access to supportive services through Home & Healthy for Good, formerly homeless individuals no longer need to rely on public emergency services as their primary sources of care. Instead, tenants are able to utilize mainstream systems of preventive and primary healthcare, better coordinate with mental-health providers, and maintain consistent permanent tenancy rather than using more costly public systems, such as emergency shelters and detox facilities.

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