Onsite physical healthcare services increase access to care for people living with mental illness

University of Washington and King County researchers collaborated with DESC to examine the effects of bringing physical healthcare services to behavioral health clinics at DESC and Harborview Medical Center. Results included significant increases in access to physical health services for homeless people with serious mental illness.

Integrating Primary Care Into Community Mental Health Centers: Impact on Utilization and Costs of Health Care – Psychiatric Services (ahead of print, published online July 01, 2016)

Housing First eliminates homelessness and reduces psychiatric hospitalizations

Researchers from Depaul University and King County examined the effects of a DESC single-site Housing First program for people with serious psychiatric problems. Some tenants came from long-term street homelessness while others had less street homelessness due to lengthy psychiatric hospitalizaitons. Tenants showed high housing retention (90%) and a significant (44%) reductions in days hospitalized, in stark contrast to a comparison group who received “usual care” in the community.

Housing First as an effective model for community stabilization among vulnerable individuals with chronic and non-chronic homelessness histories – Journal of Community Psychology (Volume 44 | Issue 3, April, 2016)

Housing First reduces use of Emergency Medical Services

The peer-reviewed journal Prehospital Emergency Care includes a paper examining the use of EMS services by DESC supportive housing tenants before and after being housed.  In the study University of Washington researchers found an average reduction of 54% in the number of contacts with EMS in the two years after obtaining housing. See:

Housing First is Associated with Reduced Use of Emergency Medical Services – Prehospital Emergency Care (Volume 18 | No.4, October-December 2014)