Housing and Health Care Integration

Our Expertise and Work at the Intersection of Homeless Assistance and Health Care

HomeBase leads the nation in integrating housing and homeless services with primary and behavioral health care to improve housing stability and health outcomes for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.

  • We have created a Taxonomy of Health Care Related Strategies that should be part of every community’s efforts to end homelessness. The taxonomy includes five major model strategies with specific action steps and cross-cutting issues to inform successful implementation of the strategies. Learn More About Our Taxonomy.
  • We are also spearheading a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Initiative aimed at helping communities integrate housing and health care services at a systems level. HomeBase is the primary Technical Assistance firm planning and facilitating action planning sessions across the country to assist communities with their housing and health care systems integration.  These sessions have a special focus on identifying strategies to maximize the use of Medicaid and other existing resources to fund health care and other services that support housing stability. Learn More About Our Action Planning Sessions.

Why We Do This Work: The Correlation Between Homelessness and Health Care Needs

Addressing health-related needs of people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness has long been recognized as a key component of efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

  • Opening Doors, the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, identifies Improving Health and Stability as one of its five themes, and includes an objective calling for integration of primary and behavioral health care with housing and other homeless services.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created significant potential to im­prove and expand access to treatment and services for people experiencing homelessness. The ACA supports integrated services, provider coordination, comprehen­sive preventive care, behavioral health care, health education (including substance abuse education), and evaluation activities.

Homelessness is correlated with greater risks for poor health and high health care costs.

  • People experiencing homelessness have high rates of infectious and acute illnesses, chronic diseases, poor mental health, and substance abuse.
  • Because homelessness inhibits the long-term, consistent care needed for many of these conditions, problems are aggravated, making them more dangerous and more costly.
  • Homelessness also increases the likelihood of excessive use of emergency rooms, inpatient treatment, and costly crisis services.

Housing is a key determinant of health.

  • Poor living conditions, caused by poverty and homelessness, exacerbate people’s vulnerability to illness and disease, and decrease their ability to benefit from treatment and manage their conditions.
  • A growing body of evidence demonstrates that housing stability removes one of the most significant barriers to health care access for people experiencing homelessness and improves health outcomes for housed individuals and family.