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

erving 90 days in prison. The total cost of public services spent on these four individuals over two years on the streets was $187,288.

The Cost of Permanent Supportive Housing:

After two years in permanent housing, investigators observed increased stability in the lives of the four individuals. All four were housed with access to mental and physical health and education classes. None of the four had required medical attention, except for one emergency room visit (versus a total of 19 emergency room visits total while the four lived on the streets). None of the individuals had entered the criminal justice system and, while one individual did relapse into drug and alcohol abuse, the services available for rehabilitation and therapy helped this person to regain sobriety (seven months at time of the interview). Costs increased in one area--mental health--which is a desirable outcome given the benefits of regular encounters with the community mental health system. The total cost of public services for these four individuals living in permanent housing with support services for two years was $107,032.

In addition to providing context around the issue of chronic homelessness, the study underscores the immense need for programs to address the growing problem of homeless families and - the most vulnerable segment - the chronically homeless. With current economic conditions and heightened unemployment further exacerbating the homeless issue, solutions must be devised to drive the homeless population off the streets and integrated back into our communities.

Ending homelessness is a critical part of United Way's work to fight poverty, and the organization has implemented strategies to impact the three inter-related root causes of poverty (and homelessness, the most extreme form of poverty). These include programs to impact housing and healthcare, education and financial stability. United Way's Pathways Ou
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SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles
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