Supportive Housing


Supportive housing (SH) is designed to assist people with a disabling condition (including mental illnesses and substance use disorders) and those who are homeless find and obtain long-term, affordable, independent housing and provide access to support services to facilitate housing stability and address needs. Support services can include case management, care coordination, job and education coaching, assistance with daily living skills, transportation assistance, access to public entitlements, and crisis intervention.


The principles of SH include:


  • Flexible voluntary supports – tenants choose from a range of services based on needs and preferences and the intensity of supports can be adjusted over time
  • Functional Separation of Housing and Supports – housing is not contingent on service participation
  • Integration in the Community – tenants live in scatter-site units throughout the community


  • Quality Housing – tenants are given housing choices and choose housing based on preferences
  • Rental Assistance – tenants pay no more than 30% of income toward rent and utilities
  • Standard Lease – tenants have full rights of tenancy; lease is in individual’s name; house rules are similar to those without mental illnesses or substance use disorders
  • Time Unlimited Housing – decision to renew lease is between tenant and owner; not transitional housing


Housing First and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) are examples of permanent supportive housing programs.


Evidence of Effectiveness

  • Extensive research has been conducted supporting the effectiveness of supportive housing practices.
  • Promoted housing stability, increased housing tenure, and reduced homelessness
  • Decreased hospitalization and emergency room use
  • Higher ratings of consumer preference and satisfaction compared to other housing models