Thursday, June 3, 2010

How Much Does Permanent Supportive Housing Save?

I received some Dallas-specific numbers today on the savings that come from permanent supportive housing. The total ranges between $27,000 and $37,000 per year for each person moved from the street to permanent supportive housing.

Dallas has, according to the official count, about 650 chronically homeless persons (that’s someone who has been on the street at least one year or four times during the last three years). Let’s do some simple math:

$32,000 (the midpoint of the range of estimates) times 650 = $20,800,000

If it costs $100,000 to build a unit of permanent supportive housing, then that cost will pay for itself in slightly over three years.

Think about the return over thirty years! The savings come to $602,400,000 in savings—or an average of over 92% per year. Try to make that return in the stock market!

Think about the people! A total of 650 people would no longer sleep on the street, or in camps or in shelters but in their own safe and secure home.

Think about our city! How much safer and cleaner and more beautiful would Dallas be without long-term homeless people? How much better would the world think of us if we solved the problem of homelessness? How many corporations would move their headquarters to Dallas? How much more investment would pour into our downtown?

Permanent supportive housing is probably the most effective investment we can make in our city.

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