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chronic homelessness

Chronic homelessness presents a pressing challenge, impacting the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens. It's important to understand what "chronically homeless" means under the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) definition: an individual who has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or who has faced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years and has a disability.


In 2022, on a single night in January, the United States counted 127,768 adults experiencing chronic homelessness. Shockingly, two-thirds of them were unsheltered, living on the streets as revealed in the 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Many of those enduring chronic homelessness battle serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, many are veterans dealing with co-occurring mental health challenges and substance use disorders.


The journey of those experiencing chronic homelessness is fraught with complex health conditions, limited access to coordinated care services, prolonged periods living on the streets, in shelters, and in and out of institutional settings. These challenges lead to deteriorating health, premature mortality, and considerable public costs that don't reduce homelessness.

Studies have estimated that people experiencing chronic homelessness cost the public between $30,000 and $50,000 per person annually due to their repeated use of emergency rooms, hospitals, jails, psychiatric centers, detox facilities, and other crisis services. Regrettably, these services often yield minimal improvements in their health and overall well-being. Given the human toll it exacts and the fiscal burden it imposes, ending chronic homelessness is both a moral imperative and a financial necessity.


It's a grim reality that the mortality rate for those experiencing chronic homelessness is four to nine times higher than that of the general population.


Healthcare expenses are a significant portion of this cost, primarily driven by frequent emergency room visits, inpatient hospitalizations, detox centers, and nursing home care.

People experiencing chronic homelessness also face high rates of incarceration, often for non-violent offenses related to mental illness or the harsh conditions of street life.

Consider this: 58% of those who have found refuge in HSI were once chronically homeless, and now, 100% of them have stable housing along with the essential support they need.

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