About the program: The Chicago Housing for Health Partnership (CHHP) is a “hospital-to-housing” effort that identifies chronically ill homeless individuals at hospitals, moves them to permanent supportive housing, and provides them with intensive case management services so that they can maintain their health and secure long-term housing stability.
The program is a response to the reality that too often hospitals in American cities discharge their homeless patients to overnight shelters or other inadequate places which cannot meet their healthcare needs. The CHHP method of service delivery provides the nation with an effective model for assisting this segment of the homeless population and saving taxpayer dollars.
Current status: In the summer of 2007, CHHP evolved from a four-year research and demonstration project (2003-2007) to a permanent citywide collaboration between 15 healthcare, housing, and social service agencies. Led by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, CHHP currently provides 180 permanent housing subsidies for homeless individuals who are discharged from three area hospitals.
During an 18-month research phase for each participant, CHHP researchers – the Collaborative Research Unit of Stroger Hospital, Cook County Bureau of Health – used a randomized control trial design to study the number of hospital, emergency room, and nursing home visits incurred by two groups: individuals who received CHHP supportive housing compared to those who received “usual care,” a piecemeal system of emergency shelters, family and recovery programs. The information was used to track health outcomes and assess how much in medical expenses could be saved through stable housing and increasing access to primary care rather than relying on costly hospital visits and nursing home stays.
The Intervention Group participants had high rates of long-term substance abuse (86 percent), mental illness (46 percent), and medical issues such as HIV/AIDS (34 percent) and hypertension (33 percent), as well as a number of other chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.
The CHHP research study is the first in the nation to evaluate whether providing stable housing and intensive case management services to chronically medically ill homeless individuals improves their health and health service utilization.
The results of the study have been published in JAMA and the AJPH. Find the press releases for both studies in the additional information section above.