Homelessness Adds Up

In Articles by Mark

Did you know that it costs more to keep people homeless than it does to end chronic homelessness

There is solid evidence that shows it costs less to end chronic homelessness than it does to continue to keep people homeless.
It costs approximately $48,000 a year to keep a person homeless. If you multiply that by the 105,000 estimated homeless people in Australia that equates to approximately $5.4 Billion per year.

Recent studies show that a person, who is housed in permanent supportive housing over a 12-month period, reduces their cost and reliance on government services by approximately $13,100 per year to an average of around $34,900 per year. That is a significance reduction in costs.

When people are given the opportunity to access permanent supportive housing they use, $13,100 per year less in government-funded services compared to the 48,000 they used when they were chronically homeless.

Multiplying the $13,100 by 105,000 equates to a saving of $1,375,500,000 per year. That’s, One Billion Three Hundred and Seventy Five Million Five Hundred Thousand dollars.

If we continue to keep people chronically homeless, our taxes need to be directed towards hospital beds, ambulance callouts, hospital emergency admittances, administration costs, and a criminal justice system that spends more time and resources responding to petty crime that is linked to the physical and social economic manifestations of poverty.

If we keep people chronically homeless and living on the streets, it means that providing blankets, food, mobile washing, and showering facilities become even more vital to a person’s health, wellbeing, and dignity.

However, important as these initiatives are, they are only a temporary solution, as it does not get to the root cause of the problem and that is, Permanent Affordable Housing.

The evidence is clear. We need the Government to redirect our money towards permanent supportive housing. Compared to the cost of keeping people homeless, investing in permanent supportive housing options constitutes a significant saving to Governments and Community.

When we provide permanent supportive housing, not only do we realise the savings to the whole of community, but also the way people live their lives changes dramatically.