A new collaboration among 10 city hospitals, Baltimore City government, and Health Care for the Homeless will provide permanent housing and supportive care for 200 individuals and families in Baltimore who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
Under the initiative, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and other city hospitals will help fund the intensive care and assistance programs that can help prevent a return to homelessness—and likely reduce participants' need for emergency health care.
"As health care providers, we immediately recognized that this sustainable housing program could improve the health of our communities and that, by working together, we could do more for our Baltimore City neighbors who are experiencing homelessness," Redonda Miller, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, said during a July 2 press conference to announce the collaboration. "Put simply, we know that this initiative will make a difference."
This new effort to reduce homelessness in the city recognizes the close tie between health and housing. National studies have shown that supportive housing significantly reduces health care costs for people who suffer from chronic homelessness. The Baltimore program will provide stable homes for 200 individuals and families in the city. It will also teach independent living skills and offer connections with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services.
"We can all agree that access to quality, permanent housing is one of the best ways to end homelessness," Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young said. "Unfortunately, this type of housing is in short supply, as is funding for the supportive services that ensure that individuals and families are able to sustain their housing and not experience a return to homelessness."
Housing and services will be available to eligible Medicaid participants through a statewide program, and Health Care for the Homeless will serve as provider of the supportive services. As part of the collaboration, the 10 city hospitals committed $2 million over two years to support wraparound care and other services for individuals and families placed in permanent housing.
"Every clinical service we deliver is made better and more effective when rooted in safe, decent, and affordable housing," says Kevin Lindamood, president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless.
A pilot program involving clients of Health Care for the Homeless resulted in a 53% reduction in emergency department costs for those clients after one year.