The City of Springfield had rising numbers of homeless individuals in 2005-2006. In 2007, the City strongly committed to a Housing First approach. Since that time, the City has housed over 100 chronically homeless individuals. The graph below shows the City’s progress: as the number of permanent supportive housing units increased, the homeless population decreased–including the homeless street population.
The fact that homelessness among individuals in Springfield decreased, even in an economic downturn, is strong evidence that individual homelessness is less a result of the economy than it is the result of our housing policies–and particularly our approach to housing people with mental illness and/or chronic substance abuse.