• Affordable, Accessible, Efficient Communities
  • Volume 17, Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

A Research Note: Long-Term Cost Effectiveness of Placing Homeless Seniors in Permanent Supportive Housing

Joshua D. Bamberger
University of California, San Francisco; Mercy Housing

Sarah K. Dobbins
San Francisco Department of Public Health


A recently developed body of evidence shows that housing chronically homeless adults improves health outcomes and prevents unnecessary, high-cost, institutional-based medical care. In this study, we report changes in the healthcare costs of homeless seniors who were placed in housing from a skilled nursing facility (SNF) and the costs for those placed in housing from the general community. Cost and utilization data from 1 year before move-in were compared with data from the 7 years subsequent to moving into a new permanent, supportive housing facility. During the 7 years after placement, the total hospital-based costs for the 51 seniors who moved into the facility was $1.46 million less than the costs incurred in the year before moving in. Permanent supportive housing may be a cost-effective placement option for homeless seniors exiting SNFs, particularly as they approach the end of life.

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