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Review of Programs for Persons Who Are Homeless and Mentally Ill
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Despite recent prosperity in the U.S., homelessness is still a widespread social problem. It is estimated that 25% of homeless persons have a serious mental illness. This article will review the literature evaluating prevention services and specialized outreach, treatment, and housing programs designed to reduce homelessness for individuals who are mentally ill. Although these interventions have been helpful in addressing the complex needs of the homeless mentally ill, it is difficult to measure how they have improved outcomes. It is even more challenging to determine whether the programs are cost-effective. Since public resources are used to maintain services for the homeless mentally ill, policy-makers must be informed about whether the best outcomes are achieved at the lowest possible cost. Following a discussion of the successes of the individual programs and the challenges they confront, several important questions are identified related to improving the efficiency of these programs. Although the establishment of such programs indicates that progress has been made toward alleviating the burdens facing people who are homeless and mentally ill, collaboration among all stakeholders -- especially between the mental health community and consumer advocates--needs to be further enhanced. New research can be conducted in a way that improves how information is evaluated and used. (Author)
Journal
2000
8
5
242-250
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services