Bill Becker

Permanent Supportive Housing

Hotel and motel conversions remain one of the faster and more cost-effective methods of securing housing for the homeless that give tenants their own personal space in addition to counseling and substance abuse support. Cities including those in California; Austin and other places started to convert motels and hotels about 15 years ago to help house homeless individuals and families. These are NOT homeless shelters!

Permanent Supportive Housing (PH) is different from a shelter or Transitional Housing (TH). Transitional Housing provides temporary housing with supportive services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness with the goal of interim stability so they can move on to the next step of successfully moving to permanent housing. Simply put, a shelter is a temporary situation, designed to get people off the street but not much else. Maybe some initial treatment services are provided, but it is a quick fix, not a good long-term arrangement.

Permanent Supportive Housing aligns with the “housing first” approach. Think of it this way, there are people with substance abuse and mental health issues who have homes today. They might even be your neighbor. They have real challenges. How hard do you think their journey would be if they were living in a tent under a bridge? A lot of people who are homeless didn’t end up that way because of substance abuse or mental illness. Only AFTER they ended up on the street did they start experiencing these issues.

Someone who is experiencing a crisis needs the basic human right of a roof over their head, then you can address the challenges they are facing that is a roadblock to their return to normalcy and a productive life.