Success with other Models

13 07 2009

By: John Gill

There have been many studies and projects that have linked the Cost/Benefit analysis of housing the homeless. It costs significantly less to house the homeless than to leave them out on the streets. This is based on the amount of time and cost of police, ambulance and other social services that are required by leaving them on the streets. The key thing to keep in mind is that these costs are repeated on an individual basis, thereby compounding the costs! Whereas if we house them in one central unit and have all the necessary services installed there, there will be a drastic cost reduction.

The most thriving model is the Portland housing First model ( and there are many other throughout the United States that have adopted similar models. However the underlying success of all these projects is housing. The solution requires housing these individuals so that they can be taken off the streets and supported, rather than just leaving them on the streets. The success of these programs as seen in the data is indeed encouraging. Furthermore, the encouraging statistics between different states is evident that this model works and could be implemented.


By contrasting the costs of housing tenants:

In supportive housing ($42/night) with the costs of housing these individuals

V. S.

In shelters ($54/night),

In Hospitals ($1,185/night),

In State prisons ($164/night),

In Psychiatric institutions ($467/night)

Data from the Street-to-Home model from New York:

Cost Reduction

Portland found that prior to entering the Community Engagement Program,

35 chronically homeless individuals: each utilized over $42,000 in public resources per year.

After entering permanent supportive housing, those individuals each used less than $26,000, and that included the cost of housing.

While making progress toward ending chronic homelessness, Portland Oregon is saving the public over $16,000 per chronically homeless person.

New York City Drops Thirty Percent in 2009

Other Models such as the  Street-to-Home (S2H) is a systematic method of identifying the chronic street homeless – people who have lived on the streets for at least nine months – and establishing a registry of these individuals in every neighborhood. Street-to-Home outreach workers assess their clients’ individual needs and prioritize for housing those who are the most vulnerable by calculating the impacts of disease and other risk factors.

Between 2005 and 2007, this program helped reduce homelessness by 87% in the Times Square area, from 55 street homeless down to 7.

Although our model is targeted towards the individuals that are currently employed and recently lost their homes. The success of housing the chronic homeless and severe addicts are encouraging. If it makes it profitable to house these individuals in dire needs. Then the government needs to step up and look at this. Currently, only two Canadian cities have adopted this housing first model, Toronto and Calgary. Having a central place for those in needs, is a huge step of mitigating the homelessness issue. Surely it is about time for Vancouver to step up and address these concerns rather than turning a blind eye.




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