The greatest savings come from decreased emergency room visits, police calls, and court time. What isn’t counted, and significant, is the increase of business in areas where the homeless are vagrants. In addition, these studies show most participants find jobs and leave these programs.
A 2014 study in Florida reports taxpayers save over $20,000 per homeless person when they are provided basic services rather than languishing on the streets. An academic paper from two University of Pennsylvania professors document it’s more cost-effective to end homelessness than endure it.
Richard Cho, US Interagency Council on Homelessness Policy Director, documents similar studies from New York City, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, with smaller cities in Connecticut, and rural areas in Maine that all research have found it’s more cost-effective, intelligent, and moral to end homelessness.
In an example of what not to do, New Jersey officials spent over $300,000 to evict ~100 homeless off vacant land in Camden while doing nothing to address public costs of the homeless. Given these public costs, it’s also really stupid to criminalize homelessness, as increasing numbers of US cities do.
The US Interagency Council on Homelessness provided me with information, and after two weeks of promises, failed to provide a spokesperson to have a conversation with me, via Skype, phone, or e-mail. I provided these questions, that they are welcome to answer for a follow-up article:
1. Given the economic cost-benefit studies are unanimous (true, yes?) that we both save money and do the moral thing by providing services to the homeless, why hasn’t this problem been completely solved? Related, given the seemingly powerful political benefit to solving this problem while saving money, why has neither political party taken this issue on as a talking point of real-world progress that helps everyone while saving money?
2. Given the related issue of ending poverty (documentation in link below) including Congressional Committee work and dozens of NGOs for decades and two UN Summits for heads of state, the facts that ending global poverty costs less than 1% of the developed nations’ GNI while reducing population growth rates and terrorism (and microcredit ends poverty while making a profit), and that ending poverty would seem to have similar political benefits as ending homelessness, what do you see is missing to solve these real-world problems when they have solutions ready right now?
3. What’s missing in this article’s information that you’d like to provide to help end homelessness?
My working hypothesis is that US “leadership” is as interested in ending homelessness as they’re interested in ending war, poverty, unemployment, or government debt: that is, “leadership” will take token actions only.
Token actions is all Americans will receive because any major problem that is solved would risk awakening public demand for all of them to be solved.
This path risks public recognition of what hundreds of us in alternative media document: the present is dominated in tragic-comic chaos from an oligarchy immersed in “Big Lie” crimes centering in in war, money, and media (also in ~100 other crucial areas).
The good news is that we have available solutions, only requiring public demand to stop/arrest “leadership” policy preferences for wars, poverty, debt, unemployment, and the Orwellian-opposite of what the public really want.
The good news is that we’re an Emperor’s New Clothes’ moment away from having these solutions enacted.
Related to the economic benefits of ending homelessness, the following seem to be essential economic policy proposals:
- Ending the horrific deaths of one million children a month from preventable poverty. The investment cost is less than 1% of the developed nations’ income, with additional outcomes of reducing population growth rate, and supporting environmental resources. There is no academic or political argument against the investment and effectiveness of the known solutions; full documentation here.
- Economic reforms worth ~$100 trillion to humanity in monetary reform, credit/banking reform, and CAFR audit/reform. Several models (and here) of cost-free government are known, beginning with Benjamin Franklin’s pamphlet on colonial Pennsylvania operating its government without taxes to Thomas Edison explaining debt-free money with Henry Ford in a 1921 summer media tour. These existing solutions produce full-employment, the best infrastructure we can imagine, and overall falling prices. As good as these breakthroughs are, resource-based economics is our predictable future just beyond these three reforms.
- Unleashed media and education for our most important truths will inspire and enlighten us unimaginably beyond the fear and distractions we receive from propagandistic corporate media today.