Apartment rents cheaper than stays in homeless sheltersCities, states and the federal government pay more to provide the homeless with short-term shelter and services than what it would cost to rent permanent housing.
In Jacksonville, one of the cities included in HUD's study of 9,000 families and individuals, the average bill for a month in an emergency shelter was $799. A market-rate, one-bedroom apartment costs $643.
Many communities probably don't know that they are spending as much "to maintain a cot in a gymnasium with 100 other cots" as it would cost to rent an efficiency apartment, says Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor who studies housing policies. "We are paying for a form of housing that is largely substandard, and we are paying as much, if not more, than standard conventional housing."
Read the report, "Costs Associated with First-Time Homelessness for Families and Individuals," here. And read the USA Today story here.