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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
November 2009
After the 2009 Legislative session, the Institute was asked to participate in a Housing Focus Group, and provide a summary of research findings on the effectiveness of housing programs for populations at risk of homelessness. In this report, we examine the impact of housing supports for persons with mental illness and for ex-offenders returning to the community following incarceration.

In this initial review of the literature, we found:

• Housing assistance for persons with mental illness significantly reduced homelessness, hospitalization, and crime when compared to similar individuals who did not participate in a housing program.

• Reentry programs that included housing support for the general population of ex-offenders did not affect the incidence of recidivism.

• Reentry programs for serious violent ex-offenders significantly reduced recidivism.
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