The Cost of Homelessness
In 2012, Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) stated that, “...between shelters and emergency rooms and jails, it costs about $40,000 a year for a homeless person to be on the streets."
A 2017 study by the RAND Corporation specifically evaluated a similar program to CaringWorks in Los Angeles County, California. The results were startling. Across all services examined by researchers, the costs for public services consumed in the year after receipt of long-term housing declined by nearly 60%. In the year prior to housing, participants received public services that cost an average of $38,146. That total fell to $15,358 in the year after housing was received. Even after taking into account the costs of permanent supportive housing, savings to the county was about 20%.
Let’s look at our options
Despite increased costs due to current economic conditions and high inflation, CaringWorks continues to provide housing and services that result in substantial savings for the communities we serve.
The bonus of CaringWorks’ solution to end homelessness is not just a cost savings but ultimately the addition of contributing members of the community. CaringWorks’ residents work, pay taxes, rent apartments, purchase groceries, volunteer, and join faith-based organizations. They learn to be good neighbors and good friends. Many try to help and inspire others who are still working their way out of homelessness.
Sources: Evaluation of Housing for Health Permanent Supportive Housing Program (2017); Georgia Department of Corrections FY2019 Allocation of Cost to Inmates, Probationers, Etc. The CaringWorks figure reflects the cost of serving 1 individual in PSH individual housing. Rising costs in housing and other services, and an updated methodology to more accurately reflect costs of delivering programs and services, account for a more significant increase compared to previous years.
It Can Happen to Anyone
The causes of homelessness vary but the most common are economic challenges, domestic violence, family issues, chronic health conditions, substance abuse, mental illness, PTSD, and lack of affordable housing. Almost everyone knows someone who is touched by these conditions, however, many of us have natural support systems that can help us through difficult times. But what happens when those support systems fail? As one client said, “Everyone is one serious, prolonged illness away from homelessness.”
- Halle Berry
- Jim Carrey
- Dr. Phil
- Suze Orman
- Daniel Craig
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Jennifer Lopez
- Steve Harvey
- Hilary Swank
- Drew Carey
- Football player Michael Oher from The Blind Side
All of the people above found someone who believed in them and gave them a chance to grow.
Let some of our clients tell you about their experience.
Jermaine grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Serious illness and the resulting decrease in income led Jermaine to become homeless at the age of 24. He worked as a manager at a fast food chain. He was diagnosed as HIV positive and, as his illness progressed, he started “going through situations, living from house to house, then I started going to homeless shelters.”
Jermaine stated, “I just became sick and I was bouncing around from shelter to shelter until I got tired of that and came to CaringWorks.”
Jermaine told us that he felt like his life is in order. He stated, “I am most proud about being able to clean up my credit score with the assistance of the financial classes through CaringWorks. In five years, I want to start a small landscaping business. I want my finances to be comfortable.”
His advice for people struggling with homelessness: “I would say to focus on education. There’s nothing good for you in the streets. I’d say come to CaringWorks; it’s a program that will help you advance in your life.”