Permanent supportive housing to improve housing stability for vulnerably housed persons

Summary of the evidence

  • Beneficial

Permanent supportive housing has changed the sequence of treatment and housing, and access to housing is not contingent on adherence to treatment or abstinence. Permanent housing has become a strategy that is often combined with coordinated case management. Programmes such as Housing First  and Pathways to Housing are examples of permanent supportive housing interventions.

Permanent supportive housing was found in a systematic review (Aubry et al., 2020, 35 studies - 15 on housing) to be effective in:

  • increasing long-term (6 year) housing stability for participants with moderate support needs as well as high support needs when compared with usual care

The review found small but promising evidence suggesting that recipients of permanent supportive housing report greater improvements in their subjective quality of life than those receiving standard care. Results also showed no evidence of any major harms associated with mental health, substance use, quality of life, and other outcomes of implementing housing interventions among homeless individuals.

Future research should focus on the long-term effects of housing interventions on physical, mental health and substance use as the review could not formulate conclusive statements on the effects of the intervention on those outcomes.

The same results were confirmed by a narrative systematic review of reviews (Miler et al., 2021).


Note: this evidence summary is only valid for the outcomes, target groups, settings and substances/patterns of use described below.