A new study from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley aims to quantify the costs of operating permanent supportive housing (PSH) and the implications of insufficient funding. The authors worked with a collaborative of seven affordable housing developers in the Bay Area and analyzed data on operating and supportive services expenses to understand what influences the costs for 26 properties that include PSH units. The study determined that inadequately funded PSH properties with lower resources have higher rates of rent arrears and move-outs, increasing the risk of returns to homelessness.
The authors explored how resident outcomes were associated with costs, including participation in resident services, on-time rent payments, and move-outs. Researchers also conducted interviews and focus groups with 53 staff at the various organizations and properties and held eight focus groups with 76 residents at different buildings to understand their experiences with services and how these resources impact their day-to-day lives.
Properties that did have sufficient funding consistently had positive outcomes for residents. Across the 26 properties, only 4% of total PSH residents were recorded as exiting housing, and less than 0.5% were evicted for cause. Costs were increased in buildings that had higher staffing needs to cover operations and supportive services. The number of distinct PSH set-aside populations at a property drives costs meaningfully upwards, even after accounting for building size and location.