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Disabled Homeless Achieve Stability, Support With Shelter Plus Care

HUDís Shelter Plus Care (S+C) program was designed to help the most vulnerable and hard-to-serve segment of the homeless population -- disabled persons with severe mental illness, AIDS, or chronic substance abuse problems -- leave the streets for permanent, supportive housing. The recently published National Evaluation of the Shelter Plus Care Program reports that S+C effectively serves its intended clients, though not as initially planned.

S+C provides grants to public agencies for projects that offer participants a variety of housing choices coupled with supportive services to fashion residential environments that range from highly supportive to independent living. The report examines how communities use S+C to provide disabled homeless people with stable housing where they can address their problems, increase their skills, earn income, and gain more influence over the decisions that affect their lives.

Perhaps the most important discovery made by the evaluators was that the programís statutory intent -- to assist disabled persons to leave the street and move straight into permanent housing -- proved impractical. Most clients who had been homeless needed to complete a transitional program using intensive case management, life skills training, and treatment before moving into the more permanent and independent S+C regimes. The evaluation also found that:

Copies of National Evaluation of the Shelter Plus Care Program are now available from HUD USER for $5 each. Please use the order form to obtain copies.

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