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United Way Homeless Study Exposes Cost of Living on Streets in Los Angeles
Date:10/13/2009

re, the study found that the quality of life of the four profiled homeless individuals had greatly improved, given changes in housing quality, substance dependency, criminal behavior, social engagement and overall health.

The United Way findings are consistent with several quantitative studies, which provide growing evidence that permanent housing is a far less costly approach to managing chronic homelessness than leaving people on the streets or in emergency shelters. And, as recently reported by the American Medical Association, savings increase the longer chronically homeless people live in housing(1). By investing in supportive housing solutions, U.S. cities like New York and Chicago have significantly increased taxpayer savings and drastically reduced their chronic homeless populations.

"Recent quantitative data has underscored the positive impact that supportive housing solutions have on communities and residents, but numbers can only tell you so much," said Dr. Michael Cousineau, from USC's Center for Community Health Studies at the Keck School of Medicine and principal investigator for the report. "By looking at the individual stories behind these numbers, we were able to understand the real social, financial and health factors impacting the homeless, providing texture to the data and helping organizations like United Way devise tailored solutions to impact the issue of chronic homelessness."

Cost of Life on the Streets:

To analyze the costs of public services, investigators first focused on the two-year period before the individuals were placed in permanent supportive housing. During this time period, two of the four had gone through the detox process six times. Two of the four had been hospitalized, and all four had used the hospital emergency room for health and alcohol issues, multiple times. All four had been arrested at least once and spent time in jail, with one of the homeless individuals profiled s
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SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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