RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — When it comes to combatting homelessness, Wake County leaders say it’s not always just about the cost of housing, but giving people the help they need to stay housed.

The county is partnering with the nonprofit Step Up to provide to convert hotel rooms into studio apartments for people experiencing homelessness who have physical, mental health, and substance use disorders. The housing will have on-site services to help them.

It’s called permanent supportive housing. 

“They will take folks before they’re stabilized and clean and help stabilize them, and those are some of the hardest folks we have to go from homelessness to housed,” said Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson.

The announcement was made at the Clinton Global Initiative, where the County’s Director of Affordable Housing and Community Revitalization Lorena McDowell appeared on stage Monday. 

Step Up President & CEO Tod Lipka said Step Up is looking at two hotels for a total of about 160 units. He did not say which hotels will be converted.

He said once individuals are in stable housing their interactions with the court system and emergency rooms go down.

“Keeping these individuals stably housed is the goal because then they become engaged in their community,” Lipka said.

Lipka said the people who live in their housing have is a 97% housing retention rate after one year.

During last year’s point-in-time count, more than 1,500 people were homeless in Wake County. Urban Ministries Executive Director Peter J. Morris works to find housing for people who stay at the organization’s women’s center. He said housing without other types of help won’t work for everyone.

“If you could find a place to house them safely and wrap services around them in terms of therapy, job assistance, training, etc., they’re far more likely to succeed at housing than if you simply say, hey, I found a lease for you,” Morris said.

Step Up’s goal is 500 affordable units in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Asheville, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem in the next two years.

“500 will barely dent the need in the state of North Carolina, but for the individuals who do receive the service and do receive that housing, it’s life changing,” Morris said.

CBS 17 asked Commissioner Adamson how much this will cost the county. She said Step Up is covering the cost of the hotel and the county will provide vouchers to people for services, but the cost will depend on how many units are converted.

Adamson said the county has hundreds of permanent supportive housing units, which targets those who are chronically homeless and in the greatest need.

She said one of the county owned supportive housing buildings, called Cornerstone, is set to open in January with about a dozen units.