Housing First Changes Lives

Outreach Worker and ClientThe 8-year track record for the Nashville Downtown Partnership’s outreach initiative confirms that “housing first” is an effective change agent.  That first turn of the key in the door of an apartment can unlock the path to a new life.

A key factor in the program’s success is providing immediate access to transitional housing.  For the initial two weeks, clients are typically hosted at a motel. Nine apartments are maintained at two locations where the average length of stay is about six months.

Over the past eight years, 105 clients have received housing assistance through this program. Based on their prior histories, an estimated 5,673 arrests have been prevented once they moved into an apartment.  Fourty-seven of them are now in permanent housing with outside sources of support.

Consistent and long-term follow-up is necessary and the Outreach Specialists make connections with community services and assist in finding permanent housing and an income source (SSI/SSDI or employment).

The return on investment for providing housing is excellent, with great reductions in arrests and hospital Emergency Room visits.  Not only do these decreases save millions of taxpayer dollars per year, they improve the perception of downtown public safety and offer opportunities for real change.