The Cost of Chronic Homelessness

A succinct article from Mental Health Association Oklahoma about the cost of chronic homelessness, based on a study out of Central Florida (along with it’s own related article):

What does $31,000 buy? Life on the Streets

Yet another plea for an increase in permanent housing with wrap-around services and case management vs, people living on the streets and/or constantly in and out of shelters. Side note: That’s not to say that there isn’t usefulness in emergency shelters – effectiveness is proven when used as a conduit to permanent housing or as a place to assess a homeless individual’s needs to get them re-housed (but that might be a different blog for a different day).

“The media outlets, homelessness advocates and the general public were fixated on how $85 per day will give someone an overpass above their heads at night in Florida, whereas $27 will provide the same person safe and affordable housing.”

Right… people on the streets cost tax payer dollars for law-enforcement and jail stays (largely for nonviolent offenses and transport), emergency-room visits and hospitalization, which = roughly $31,000 a year per person. The approximate annual cost of permanent housing and case managers for that same person = $10,000. Um. I’m no good at math, but this equationeed changen doesn’t seem that hard.

Sure, there are barriers. There are always barriers. But this can help people. All of us. Win-win. It seems to make better sense to invest in something that is going to save money for the public in the future as well as better assist individuals in need.