Preventing Recurrent Homelessness among Mentally Ill Men: A "Critical Time" Intervention after Discharge from a Shelter

Susser, Ezra; Valencia, Elie; Conover, Sarah; Felix, Alan; Wei-Yann Tsai; Wyatt, Richard Jed
February 1997
American Journal of Public Health;Feb1997, Vol. 87 Issue 2, p256
Academic Journal
The article presents a study which examines a strategy to prevent homelessness among individuals with severe mental illness, by providing a bridge between institutional and community care. This randomized clinical trial tested an approach to prevent homelessness among mentally ill individuals. Although it is widely believed that mentally disabled persons merit care and accommodation in the community, we frequently fail in providing it. In the United States, men and women with chronic mental illness such as schizophrenia have a 25& to 50% risk of becoming homeless, which is about 10 to 20 times the risk of homelessness for the general population. This study demonstrates that it is possible to intervene to prevent homelessness among individuals with severe mental illness. The view that these patients suffer homelessness and other deprivations because they cannot be reached may be unwarranted. Furthermore, the intervention that proved effective in this study was neither costly nor complex.


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