Policy Brief: Housing for People with Mental Illness

DSHS Exceptional Item Request #8


The Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) Exceptional Item #8 requests funding for basic and enhanced supportive housing projects for people with serious mental illness. Supportive housing is a cost-effective, evidence-based practice that combines stable and affordable living arrangements with flexible health and human services designed to promote recovery for people with behavioral health conditions.

On any given night, more than 36,000 Texans experience homelessness. An estimated 26.2% of these individuals are living with serious mental illness. When people with serious mental illness do not have stable living arrangements they often cycle in and out of homelessness, emergency rooms and jails. Treatment is much more expensive in these settings.
The average cost per day for a bed in a state psychiatric hospital is $401. A jail bed costs approximately $137 per day for an inmate with mental illness. The average emergency room visit costs $986. Cost estimates for supportive housing programs vary between $20 and $52 per day depending on where the program is located and the services offered.
Providing affordable housing and coordinated services is an effective way to promote recovery from mental illness at a much lower cost than institutional treatment.


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