We Focus on Long-Term Care
In 2014, the City of St. Louis surveyed 1328 homeless people and found decreases in the number of people without homes were due to understanding and addressing the needs of the chronic homelessness: those without shelter and with other issues like mental illness, addiction or disability.
Our Approaches to Care
Housing First is an alternative approach to a linear approach in which people experiencing homelessness were required to first participate in treatment programs before obtaining permanent housing. In the linear approach, permanent housing was offered only after a person experiencing homelessness could demonstrate that they were “ready” for housing.
By contrast, Housing First is premised on the following principles:
- Homelessness is first and foremost a housing crisis and can be addressed through the provision of safe and affordable housing.
- All people experiencing homelessness, regardless of their housing history and duration of homelessness, can achieve housing stability in permanent housing. Some may need very little support for a brief period, while others may need more intense and long-term supports.
- Everyone is “housing ready.” Sobriety, compliance in treatment, or even criminal histories are not necessary to succeed in housing. Rather, homelessness programs and housing providers must be “consumer ready.”
- Many people experience improvements in quality of life in the areas of health, mental health, substance use, and employment because of achieving housing.
- People experiencing homelessness have the right to self-determination and should be treated with dignity and respect.
- The exact configuration of housing and services depends upon the needs and preferences of the population.
Living Better is also based on The Green House approach. Founded in 2001, THE GREEN HOUSE Project offers an innovative national model for long-term care that returns control, dignity, and a sense of well-being to veterans, their families, and direct care staff.
A Green House home is a self-contained, skilled nursing home where autonomy and choice are honored, quality care is a priority, and people have more satisfying and meaningful lives, work, and relationships. Ten to twelve veterans live in each home.
Nurses serve each Green House home on a 24-hour basis. Other clinical professionals on the team visit the houses regularly and as individual residents require. Despite a high level of care and services, every effort is made to keep the emphasis on the comfort and well-being of the resident.
The people who live and work in a Green House home work together to make a flexible living environment where each resident enjoys choice and independence. Residents have the autonomy to make decisions such as, when to wake up and go to bed, what to eat for breakfast, and how to spend their time during the day. They are encouraged to pursue interests and hobbies that have meaning to them. The warm, home environment is pleasing to family and friends. Deep relationships are the basis for the model’s dramatic improvements in quality of life and care.