September 26, 2020

Housing the homeless costs less than leaving them on the streets—a lot less

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dreamstime_s_17405673By Walter Einenkel From Daily Kos

This isn’t a revelation. Many proponents of truly trying to handle the homeless problems in our country have been pointing to studies and generating numbers to prove that helping the homeless, just a tiny bit, would save tons of money.

The most recent report along these lines was a May Central Florida Commission on Homelessness study indicating that the region spends $31,000 a year per homeless person on “the salaries of law-enforcement officers to arrest and transport homeless individuals — largely for nonviolent offenses such as trespassing, public intoxication or sleeping in parks — as well as the cost of jail stays, emergency-room visits and hospitalization for medical and psychiatric issues.”
By contrast, getting each homeless person a house and a caseworker to supervise their needs would cost about $10,000 per person.

In Colorado:

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless estimates that taxpayers spend $43,240 per homeless individual in Colorado each year on everything from emergency health care to legal issues. A 2012 estimate found there are nearly 17,000 homeless persons in the Centennial State. As Hickenlooper notes, though, this money doesn’t even include “any effort to recover them” and help them transition off the streets.

Housing 200 people at Fort Lyon, by contrast, will cost just $16,813 per person, less than half the cost of leaving them on the streets.

There are real-life examples of cities testing out “housing policies” when it comes to the homeless. Moore Place, in east Charlotte, was built a couple of years ago to house homeless men and women. In its first year of operation:
The study, conducted by the university’s Department of Social Work, found Moore Place saved $1.8 million in its first year by drastically reducing the amount of time its tenants spent in emergency rooms (447 fewer visits) and admitted to hospitals (372 fewer days).

Statistics show tenants also stayed out of trouble more, with a 78 percent drop in arrests and 84 percent fewer days spent in jail.

This is money we are already spending. People talk about “bootstraps” and “welfare” and they pretend to mean we all need to be self-reliant and not spend money “we don’t have.” But the numbers never match up. When you choose to ignore the homeless you are ignoring your community. It’s strictly a humanity issue because it’s sure as hell not a smart financial one.

IMAGE: Homeless person sleeping on the street. It doesn’t take much to make this better

For more on this story go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/09/1363333/-Housing-the-homeless-costs-less-than-a-leaving-them-on-the-streets-a-lot-less

See also iNews Cayman story today “Utah’s 5-step plan to continue helping the homeless”

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