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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Housing First Initiative Shows Impact in First 6 Months

12/6/2006  4:05:00 PM
Martin McOmber, 684-8358
Todd Burley  (206) 684-5081

Housing First Initiative Shows Impact in First 6 Months
City partnership with Plymouth Housing Group stabilizes long-term homeless

SEATTLE – The media is invited to accompany Mayor Greg Nickels on a tour of the Plymouth on Stewart, where an innovative approach to helping some of the most difficult cases of chronic homelessness is having a positive effect.

There are an estimated 500 to 700 chronically homeless individuals in Seattle frequently using emergency services for treatment of mental illness or addiction to drugs and alcohol. A six-month-old program operated by the Plymouth Housing Group (PHG) and supported by the city of Seattle is helping change the lives of up to 20 chronically homeless individuals.

The program falls under the city's "Housing First Initiative," an approach combining homeless housing with important in-house medical and mental health services and other support programs. During the first six months of operation, the Housing First effort at Plymouth on Stewart has shown those who had cycled on and off the streets for years are people able to stabilize in housing.

  • WHO: City of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels
    PHG Executive Director Paul Lambros
    Program case managers and tenants
  • WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, 10 a.m.
  • WHERE: Plymouth on Stewart building, 116 Stewart St., Main Floor Common Area (tour begins here)

On Wednesday morning Nickels will tour Plymouth on Stewart, visiting with tenants and staff at Plymouth on Stewart.

Housing First Initiative Shows Impact in First 6 Months
December 5, 2006

The Housing First Initiative is a key component of the city's effort to end homelessness.

In March the Mayor announced the initiative, pledging $200,000 in services funding annually, beginning in 2006, to provide stabilizing services for up to 20 homeless individuals at any one time. The city also contributed $3.75 million for construction of Plymouth on Stewart facility.

The Plymouth program is just one part of the city's Housing First Initiative. The city supported Downtown Emergency Service Center's 1811 Eastlake project, which opened in January to house homeless people with long-term alcohol addiction. The 1811 Housing First development is already reducing the use of the sobering center, emergency room and jail.

In its 2007-2008 budget the city has allocated another $3 million to create a comprehensive housing and services program for the long-term homeless and homeless veterans. The money builds on more than $38 million, in capital and services dollars, the city of Seattle committed in 2005 to help end homelessness.

Combining services with housing reflects a shift from the "reactive" emergency shelter approach to the "proactive" housing first model. National studies have shown homeless families and individuals are more responsive to interventions and social services after they are safely in permanent housing. Providing on-site services reduces the use of emergency services and improves both tenant health and the efficient use of public resources.

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