Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cost benefit clear on housing for homeless

(Last week I received the following report from Becky Kanis, leader at Community Solutions and driving force behind the national 100,000 Homes movement.  Her encouraging report substantiates the real cost benefit to communities who commit themselves to developing supportive housing for our neighbors who live on the street.  Read the facts and let me know what you think.)

This just in!

A research authority with the County of Los Angeles has released its cost-effectiveness findings on Project 50, the County's ambitious 2007 effort to move its most long-term, vulnerable homeless people into permanent housing. The report compared a cohort of long-term homeless individuals who did not participate in Project 50 to those who did.

Its conclusion may not surprise many of you: it costs more to leave vulnerable neighbors on the street than it does to house them permanently.

Some of the highlights:
  • Between 2008 and 2010, Project 50 cost the county $3.045 million but generated $3.284 million in estimated savings. That is equivalent to a $4,774 surplus for each apartment provided.
  • This is a 7.2% return on investment over 2 years.
  • Incarceration costs for program participants fell 28% in their first year in Project 50, compared to a 42% increase for non-participants.
  • Medical costs for Project 50participants fell 68% in their first year, compared to a 37% drop for the control group.
This data confirms that housing our vulnerable neighbors is a win-win for everyone - and it has been getting wonderful coverage in the LA Times. Please use this press locally to amplify and expand your efforts! Project 50 was one of several efforts that inspired the Campaign, and each of you is tied to this innovation.


Anonymous said...

This makes a lot of sense but I have one concern. How would you know where to draw the line? If you provide an apartment for one person, what would keep another from demanding a free one also?

Anonymous said...

Not too hard, really. Just create appropriate definitions. "Homeless" means 'not having a permament place to live for over 1 year'. Or whatever else you want it to be. Then only those who meet this test are eligible. By controlling the definition, you control the number of people who qualify.