PROVIDENCE, RI – A new report from ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) and Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) shows that the average Medicaid-related health care spending for persons who were formerly homeless and who are now living in permanent supportive housing was consistently lower than Medicaid recipients who continued to experience homelessness.

“We’ve known for years that individuals experiencing homelessness have some of the most complex and expensive medical needs. We’ve also known that housing is the foundation for better health outcomes,” said Jennifer Hawkins, President and Executive Director of ONE Neighborhood Builders. “This report validates our call for more affordable housing and shows that our state’s housing crisis is also a health care crisis. Rhode Island can reduce Medicaid costs by doing more to help individuals living in shelters find permanent supportive housing.”

The report, which was conducted by Faulkner Consulting Group, made four key observations while noting the study’s small sample size:

  • Medicaid costs were 43 percent lower among Rhode Island Medicaid members who had access to ONE|NB’s permanent supportive housing compared with other Medicaid members who remained in shelters;
  • Medicaid spending on hospital services and pharmaceuticals was 51 percent lower among Rhode Island Medicaid members who had access to ONE|NB’s permanent supportive housing compared with other Medicaid members who remained in shelters;
  • Emergency department visits and inpatient admissions among those who had access to ONE|NB’s permanent supportive housing were nearly half that compared to other Medicaid members who remained in shelters; and
  • Medicaid members who had access to permanent support housing appeared more likely to receive preventative behavioral health services than those remaining in shelter.

While the report focuses on a small sample group in Rhode Island, the findings are similar to larger studies of similar populations in other parts of the United States.

The report lends support to recent calls from housing advocates for state investments in the development of affordable and permanent supportive housing initiatives like the Taunton Avenue Collaborative which will offer individuals access to resources, case management, and other services. Additionally, it suggests that efforts to expand programs that direct Medicaid funding toward affordable housing could save taxpayer money in reduced health care expenses.

ONE|NB and PCHC partnered in 2019 to provide rental housing and related support services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness as part of Rhode Island Housing’s Continuum of Care (CoC) program. Through this partnership, ONE|NB currently manages 20 permanent supportive housing apartments and PCHC provides supportive services that includes regular outreach, housing stabilization, crisis support, and clinical and behavioral health referrals. All of the residents in this CoC program are patients and subscribers of PCHC’s Accountable Entity.

“RIHousing’s Continuum of Care programs housed 244 formerly homeless households during the last program year by providing affordable housing subsidies coupled with supportive services delivered by multiple health centers and homeless services providers throughout the State. One example of this program is the ONE Neighborhood Builders and Providence Community Health Center partnership highlighted in this report released today,” said Carol Ventura, Executive Director of RIHousing. “RIHousing knows that access to safe, affordable housing is a critical component of supportive housing. We are proud of our role in this solution to homelessness and look forward to receiving this report.”

ONE|NB and PCHC released the report earlier during ONE|NB’s monthly Fresh Friday forum. The monthly series brings housing leaders, providers, and advocates together for discussions about best practices and emerging trends in housing, community development and urban policy.


ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) is a nonprofit community development leader in Rhode Island that is expanding its work to the broader Greater Providence area while maintaining its deep roots in its historic home of Olneyville. ONE|NB’s mission is to develop affordable housing and engage neighbors to cultivate healthy, vibrant, and safe communities. Since its founding in 1988, then as Olneyville Housing Corporation, ONE|NB has developed 466 affordable apartments; 130 for-sale homes for low- to moderate-income homebuyers; and nearly 35,000 square feet of commercial and community space—totaling more than $135 million of investments. ONE|NB is the convening entity of Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone, which brings together residents, more than five dozen community-based organizations, health professionals, local businesses, elected officials, and others to address root causes of health disparities and to improve neighborhood conditions. As the convener, ONE|NB is the backbone organization of this collective-impact initiative to increase economic mobility for residents in Central Providence. ONE|NB also created the first free community wireless network in Rhode Island, providing high-speed broadband to more than 2,583 unique users in the Olneyville neighborhood.


Media Contact (for ONE|NB)
Mike Raia, Half Street Group
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