Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ending homelessness is cost-effective

The cost of homelessness is high.

Taxpayers in Hennepin County (that's Minneapolis) spent $4.2 million on 266 people and got no results. These people used more than 70,000 nights in a combination of jail, shelter and detox over five years and were still in those places.

With a modest private investment, the strategy shifted. Instead of allowing these individuals to cycle through the system, the goal became to provide housing and services.

Nearly 70 of the top 100 most frequent users of these systems are now in housing. After one full year in housing, taxpayer costs associated with each person were reduced by an average of $13,000 per year.

Read more in this post by Cathy ten Broeke, the project coordinator for the Office to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County.


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