True cost of homelessness

24 September 2020

The financial cost we all bear for not fixing homelessness is outlined in an excellent article by Vivienne Skinner and Phillippa Carnemolla of University of Technology Sydney, published on 22 September 2020 in the newsletter The Conversation:

“It includes the bills for police and ambulance call-outs, prison nights, visits to emergency departments, hospital stays and mental health and drying out clinics. These expenses are rarely collated and tabulated to find the true cost of homelessness to the public.”

These authors reviewed 100 studies and agency reports published since 2009 on the value of providing a secure, stable home for formerly homeless people:

“Almost all the research found positive changes when people moved into permanent, secure housing. Almost one-third of the studies looked at the fall in use of hospital wards and emergency services once people were housed… People’s use of sobering services and mental health clinics also declined once housed… All 18 studies looking at criminality reported improvements once people had a stable home. They had fewer nights in jail, arrests and rearrests, and encounters with police… All 19 studies measuring cost-effectiveness found housing people produced savings across a broad range of areas – including crisis accommodation, the justice system, sobering clinics and hospitals.”

This article strengthens the economic case for what MyHome is about – Building a safe, supportive and caring home for people with enduring mental illness.

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