Permanent Housing Program Helps End Homelessness

CHARLOTTE—A new study from UNC-Charlotte shows Moore Place, a permanent housing unit in Charlotte, ended homelessness for majority of its tenants since it opened in 2012.

Two years ago, Dr. Lori Thomas started studying tenants at Moore Place, a housing unit in Charlotte for chronically homeless people.

It opened in 2012, and has no timetable for how long people can stay there.

"There was someone who was homeless for up to 25 years, and they came into Moore Place, and they've been stably housed," said Lori Thomas, Associate Professor at UNC-Charlotte.

Moore Place is the first of its kind in the Queen City. But nationally, housing first programs have been around for years, helping to end chronic homelessness. Thomas conducted a study, with 73 out of the 85 tenants at Moore Place, to see if it had the same impact. 

"So, each year when we've gone back to ask additional questions, and kind of see where they are, some people had left, some people had died. But, we still maintained a really good response rate for the study, and even more importantly 81 percent of the folks still remained,” said Thomas.

The study shows once people moved into Moore Place, tenants visited emergency rooms 648 fewer times, which is an 81 percent reduction. They also spent 292 fewer days in the hospital, a 62 percent reduction.

That ultimately led to a $2.4 million decrease in total billing over two years, which is a drop of about 70 percent.

"This is good news for Charlotte, because again, it's a more efficient use of our communities' resources," said Caroline Chambre Hammock, HousingWorks Director.

To continue the upward trend, Moore Place is increasing the number of people it can help, by 40 percent by the end of the year, by adding 35 units. The project costs $4 million, and a ground-breaking ceremony is expected this summer.

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