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February 10, 2015

Study: Giving homeless people housing is cheaper than leaving them on the streets

Economy Homeless
012115_Homeless-3.jpg Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Homelessness is a persistent reality for many Philadelphians.

A group of volunteers came together in Philadelphia last month to count the city’s homeless population in order to gauge the city's progress in fighting homelessness. 

A 2014 study confirms it's cheaper to fix homelessness by giving homeless people homes to live in than to let them live on the streets.

The report by the May Central Florida Commission on Homelessness indicated that the region spends $31,000 a year per homeless person. Included in this amount are the salaries of law-enforcement officers to arrest and transport homeless individuals as well as the cost of jail stays, emergency-room visits and hospitalization.

Conversely, it would cost about $10,000 per person to get each homeless person a house and a caseworker to supervise his or her needs.

While conditions will vary based on location, there are similar studies showing large financial savings as a result of focusing on simply housing the homeless.

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