December 28, 2014

Housing homeless much cheaper than leaving them on the street

Think. Progress - Late last week, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness released a new study showing that, when accounting for a variety of public expenses, Florida residents pay $31,065 per chronically homeless person every year they live on the streets.

The study, conducted by Creative Housing Solutions, an Oklahoma-based consultant group, tracked public expenses accrued by 107 chronically homeless individuals in central Florida. These ranged from criminalization and incarceration costs to medical treatment and emergency room intakes that the patient was unable to afford.

Andrae Bailey, CEO of the commission that released the study, noted to the Orlando Sentinel that most chronically homeless people have a physical or mental disability, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. “These are not people who are just going to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get a job,” he said. “They’re never going to get off the streets on their own.”

The most recent count found 1,577 chronically homeless individuals living in three central Florida counties — Osceola, Seminole, and Orange, which includes Orlando. As a result, the region is paying nearly $50 million annually to let homeless people languish on the streets.

There is a far cheaper option though: giving homeless people housing and supportive services. The study found that it would cost taxpayers just $10,051 per homeless person to give them a permanent place to live and services like job training and health care. That figure is 68 percent less than the public currently spends by allowing homeless people to remain on the streets. If central Florida took the permanent supportive housing approach, it could save $350 million over the next decade.


Pat Moore said...

In Charlotte, NC, 85 chronically homeless neighbors, many on the streets for decades, are now housed with wrap-around services, at a savings to the taxpayers last year of $1.8 million.

Anonymous said...

Just give them NINJA loans . . . oh, wait, we tried that.

Anonymous said...

These studies fail to account for the "Schadenfreude factor": there are individuals who enjoy the misery of others.

They don't care about saving money, they care about continuing to get that little frisson of excitement that seeing other people being degraded brings them.

It's a big pathology, and more frequent among those who run things than they would ever admit.

Anonymous said...

Although your story suggests that this is a report from last week, the only instance of such a report was released May 21 2014