Q: What happens when you educate a policymaker about all the societal benefits of investing in supportive housing?
A: They go on one of the highest-rated shows on television and tell the whole world about why supportive housing works!
For those of you who missed the December 12, 2012 episode of the Daily Show, it featured a conversation between its host Jon Stewart and the widely popular mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker. During a conversation about how government can get out in front of crises, CSH was thrilled to hear Mayor Booker begin discussing the cost-effectiveness of supportive housing. He followed up his comments about supportive housing for the homeless with equally adept points about the impact of re-entry programs that help reduce recidivism among young men returning to the community following incarceration.
Over the last several years CSH has worked to cultivate a relationship with the Booker Administration and demonstrate alongside it the efficacy of supportive housing. We provided the Office of Reentry in the city of Newark a $25,000 planning grant to replicate a program that targets high utilizers of the jail and homeless system and provides them with supportive housing. The goal of this program is to not only interrupt and end the individuals’ cycle of homelessness and incarceration, but also to reduce the massive costs to taxpayers due to high utilization of these crisis systems.
CSH is thrilled that Mayor Booker spoke about the importance of understanding problems across different government systems, and recognizing the ways costs can be averted through good programs such as investing in supportive housing. His appearance underscores the importance of supportive housing providers, advocates and other practitioners talking with their elected officials about supportive housing’s cost effectiveness and exactly how and why it works.
Mayor Booker is an invited keynote speaker of our 2013 Eastern Region Supportive Housing conference and we hope he is able to be there to share his thoughts, approach and recommendations to conference participants.