Permanent Supportive Housing Tenure Among a Heterogeneous Population of Adults with Disabilities

Popul Health Manag. 2022 Apr;25(2):227-234. doi: 10.1089/pop.2021.0348.


People with disabilities can face substantial barriers to living stably in community settings. Evidence shows that permanent supportive housing (PSH), which combines subsidized housing with individualized support services, can improve housing stability among subpopulations of people with disabilities, including those with behavioral health conditions. PSH has also been shown to improve some health outcomes among people with severe mental illness or substance use disorder, but effects varied by participants' program tenure. This study assessed retention in a PSH program serving a broad population of adults with disabilities and identified factors associated with program tenure. Administrative data from 2093 individuals who began participating in a North Carolina PSH program between 2015 and 2018 were analyzed. Participants' unadjusted probability of remaining in a PSH placement at specific time points was estimated, with censoring due to death or the end of the study period (July 2020). Using Cox regression, program tenure was modeled as a function of participant and PSH placement location characteristics. Participants had a 71% probability of remaining in PSH after 2 years. Older age, female gender, and non-Hispanic Black race/ethnicity were associated with lower hazard of PSH departure. Having a severe mental illness diagnosis was associated with greater departure hazard. Level of socioeconomic deprivation and rurality of the PSH placement ZIP code were not associated with departure hazard. PSH programs may be able to successfully retain a heterogeneous population of adults with disabilities, although tenure may vary by participant demographic and clinical characteristics.

Keywords: administrative data; disability; housing; survival analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons*
  • Substance-Related Disorders*