Thursday, January 17, 2013

ROI: housing, the best deal

For some time now we've known that the cost incurred to "maintain" people on the streets is not an economically effective approach.  If some of the funds currently deployed to serve people who attempt to live on the streets were shifted to pay for the development of permanent housing with supportive services, the community's return on investment would amaze everyone. 

National data reveals that placing the most expensive homeless persons in permanent housing brings a cost-savings stability that dramatically reduces costs to public sector agencies.  We have seen this play out among the residents who live in the properties managed by CitySquare. 

Consider the following data collected by public agencies with whom CitySquare works to address the needs and realities of our homeless neighbors: 

Charges amassed by the Dallas City Detention Center (CDC)’s top 25 serial inebriates from 6/2010- 8/2012

Dallas Police Department:
The CDC’s top 25 serial inebriates were responsible for a total of 634 visits to the CDC from 6/2010- 8/2012. (This spans a range of 15-76 visits per person over this time period.)

Chief Golbeck estimates per arrest, an average of two hours for two officers (includes arrest, transportation, and book-in) at $42.50 an hour. Therefore, 2 hours X 2 officers X $42.50/hr X 634 visits = $107,780.  (This is simply a cost of officers’ time, and does not include vehicle wear, fuel costs, and maintenance of the CDC facility and its employees. Most importantly, this is 2536 hours that officers could have otherwise been spending patrolling neighborhoods and responding to emergencies in the community.)

Dallas Fire Rescue  (DFR):
Charges amassed by DFR transports of the top 25 serial inebriates on the CDC’s list from 6/2010- 8/2012:  $408,000 (calculated based on approximately $1,000 per run)

Of this group the top three DFR users have required 82, 54, and 36 transports each, respectively during this time period. This totals $172,000 for three individuals.

Only one of the top 25 serial inebriates has never been transported by DFR. The remaining 24 have each been transported multiple times.

Parkland Memorial Hospital:
Amongst the top 25 utilizers of the CDC from 6/2010- 8/2012, 19 of these individuals were cumulatively responsible for $1,285,358.54 in charges at Parkland during this same time period. Amongst the top 25 visitors to the CDC, 3 have never been registered as a patient at Parkland. An additional 3 patients did not visit Parkland during 6/2010- 8/2012, but were transported by EMS to other local hospitals.

Patients with the most frequent Parkland visits during 6/2010- 8/2012 have charges of over $200,000 per person during this two year time period.  

Of note, this is NOT a list of patients with the highest charges amassed at Parkland due to alcohol-related visits. For example, one individual who was responsible for $450,000 in Parkland charges (and $50,000 in EMS charges) during the calendar year of 2011 does not appear on the list of the top 25 utilizers of the CDC. This individual is typically too medically ormentally unstable for the CDC. 

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