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The Culhane Study

09.20.2018

It was the most comprehensive study to date on the effects of homelessness and service-enriched housing on mentally ill individuals’ use of publicly funded services. 

In 2001, in collaboration with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a research team from the University of Pennsylvania published the first-ever study to measure the impacts of supportive housing. It was the most comprehensive study to date on the effects of homelessness and service-enriched housing on mentally ill individuals’ use of publicly funded services. 

Titled "Public Service Reductions Associated with Placement of Homeless Persons with Severe Mental Illness in Supportive Housing," It tracks the public service use of 4,679 homeless, mentally ill New York City residents from 1989 to 1997. The “Culhane Report,” as it’s often referred to, quantifies costs of both homelessness and supportive housing. It does this by comparing how frequently homeless people and supportive housing tenants use services such as psychiatric inpatient care and emergency rooms. 

Dennis Culhane and his coauthors calculate that a homeless, mentally ill person on the streets of New York City costs taxpayers $40,451 a year -- in 1999 dollars. Supportive housing reduces these annual costs by a net $16,282 per housing unit. This study was written by Dennis P. Culhane, Stephen Metraux and Trevor Hadley. 

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