First launched as a pilot program in 2012, Open Door Supportive Housing has grown from serving 2 individuals in 2012 to more than 40 people in 2018. Open Door Supportive Housing utilizes the Housing First approach.
What is Permanent Supportive Housing?
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of people exiting chronic homelessness. The services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services. In addition to ending a person’s homelessness and increasing their housing stability, permanent supportive housing has been shown to improve health and well-being.
A cost-effective solution, permanent supportive housing has been shown to lower public costs associated with the use of crisis services such as shelters, hospitals, jails and prisons. (Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness)
Who qualifies for Supportive Housing?
Open Door Supportive Housing serves adults without children who meet the definition of Chronic Homelessness (CH) as defined by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 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.
Additionally, Open Door, along with other service providers in our community, conduct assessments (Coordinated Entry Assessments) which help determine eligibility as chronically homeless, as well as, help prioritize people who have the highest chronicity and acuity for our housing program.
Where do people live in Supportive Housing?
People in Open Door Supportive Housing live in apartments or small housing units throughout the city of Lubbock. Some participants live in units that are owned by Open Door, but most participants live in apartments owned by private landlords. All participants in Open Door Supportive Housing are on a standard lease agreement just like any other renter. Like all lease agreements, activities such as keeping guests for prolonged periods and illegal drug use is prohibited, and participants can be evicted by the landlord for these kinds of lease violations.
Do people pay rent in Supportive Housing?
All Open Door Supportive Housing participants pay 30% of their income toward their rent and utilities while Open Door subsidizes the remaining rent and utilities. When participants enter the program with little or no income, Open Door can pay the full cost of rent and utilities until the participant gains income. If a participant loses income while in Supportive Housing, Open Door covers the cost of rent and utilities so the participant doesn't lose housing. This sliding-scale approach incentivizes participants to seeks ways of increasing their income through employment and other sources.
What are the short-term goals of Supportive Housing?
Open Door Supportive Housing seeks to identify the most vulnerable people experiencing chronic homelessness and quickly move them into permanent supportive housing without preconditions or barriers. Once in Supportive Housing, Open Door provides comprehensive supportive services to help participants gain housing stability (stay housed) and improve health and holistic wellbeing. Additionally, Open Door helps participants increase their income and gain access to a variety of mainstream benefits.
What are the long-term goals of Supportive Housing?
Open Door has set the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Lubbock by 2020, which involves developing enough PSH to match the estimated number of people experiencing chronic homelessness at any point in time. In 2017, the estimated number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in Lubbock based on the annual Point-in-Time Count was 85 people. In January 2018, after the expansion of Open Door Supportive Housing, the Point-in-Time Count identified 44 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, a reduction of almost 50%. We are expecting to see this number continue to decline in 2019.
One of the significant reasons why this number has been cut in half and why ending chronic homelessness is an achievable goal is because chronic homelessness is a static group within homelessness. Unlike situational homelessness, which includes many people constantly entering and exiting the system, chronic homelessness, which accounts for about 15% of all homelessness, remains very static from year to year.