Supportive housing is cheaper than chronic homelessness
by C Parsell, University of Qld in The Conversation.
23rd June 2017

It costs the state government more to keep a person chronically homeless than it costs to provide permanent supportive housing to end homelessness,  recent research shows.

Over a 12-month period, people who were chronically homeless used state government funded services that cost approximately A$48,217 each. Over another 12-month period in which they were tenants of permanent supportive housing, the same people used state government services that cost approximately A$35,117.

The significance of this cost difference is remarkable. Yes, people use A$13,100 less in government-funded services when securely housed compared to the services they used when they were chronically homeless. But, on top of that, the annual average of A$35,117 in services used by supportive housing tenants includes the A$14,329 cost of providing the housing and support.

When we provide permanent supportive housing, not only do we realise whole of government cost offsets, but the way people live their lives changes demonstrably.

The data show that when people are tenants of supportive housing, their low level criminal behaviour and reliance on crisis health and temporary accommodation services that characterised their lives while homeless reduces. For example, sustaining housing, compared to being homeless for a year, was associated with a 52 per cent reduction in criminal offending, a 54 per cent reduction in being a victim of crime, and 40 per cent reduced time spent in police custody. Their use of short term crisis accommodation reduced by 99 per cent; mental health service used declined by 65 per cent.

When people have access to housing that is safe and affordable, they no longer have to live as patients, criminals, inmates, clients, and homeless people.

Click here for the full article.


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