Tag Archives: permanent housing

Kansas Housing Cost/Benefit Analysis Released by Kim Wilson Housing

Kim Wilson Housing recently published the results of a months-long research effort into the costs of various housing and other interventions in Kansas.  Broadly, I think its results match those of similar studies done previously nationwide, and reinforce the excellent cost/benefit value of permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing.

Read the report for yourself right here: Cost Benefit Analysis for KS 2014-final

My thoughts:

  • Keeping Kansans homeless is very expensive!  A person experiencing homelessness in Kansas accesses about $153.00 of services – including ambulance and ER services, encounters with police, emergency shelter, etc. – per day.  In contrast, permanent supportive housing (which decreases uses of these other services drastically) costs about $29 per day for scattered-site projects (i.e. rent vouchers and wrap-around services).  Budget-minded taxpayers ought to favor increasing permanent supportive housing, it seems to me!
  • The cost of an ambulance ride plus an emergency room visit is roughly equal to that of providing 61 days of permanent supportive housing in a scattered site project.  ER “frequent fliers” can access the ER several times per month; identifying and housing these folks drastically improve their health, along with saving money!

The way we do things now results in huge, mostly hidden, costs to all of us for emergency health, police, and housing services.  There are better ways that, together, communities across the country are working toward.  They have to make sense locally, but they all include improved data systems, collection, and reporting, re-allocation of resources toward permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, and housing first-style priorities (i.e. our system does not prolong someone’s homelessness due to addiction, lack of “job readiness,” criminal record, etc.).

If you had a housing crisis tonight, which system would you want to encounter?  The one we have now?  Or the one we’re building?

Making a House a Home

When an individual or family we’re working with moves into permanent housing, we’re often at a loss as to what our role is at that point. And sometimes, we’re surprised if people don’t take care of their new place the way we think they should.

home

That sense of belonging, of ownership and pride that we want for our clients doesn’t just automatically come when they get the keys to their own place.   It’s often something that is developed as they’re able to make it their own. It seems that for most of us, creating a home is less about the building itself and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort we’re able to create behind the doors.  Last week I attended a case management workshop and came away with a list of simple ideas for case workers and advocates to help their clients begin to make a house a home.

  • Give them a plant
  • Buy a baking sheet and bake cookies together
  • Give them a calendar
  • Go grocery shopping together at their local grocery store and make a big pot of something that can then be divided into individual portions
  • Give them some picture frames
  • Provide them with activities to address boredom (books, magazines, or a library card; art supplies, etc.)
  • Give them fun refrigerator magnets and dry erase markers
  • Encourage them to introduce themselves to their neighbors

Most of these ideas are low cost yet they can make a big impact. What else do you do to help individuals and families make a house their home?

FYI – the workshop I attended was “Working to Achieve Excellence in Housing-Based Case Management” and was put on by Iain De Jong with OrgCode Consulting www.orgcode.com