The Homeless in Utah Find Homes, Due to One Good Idea
|December 27, 2013||Posted by Staff under Activism|
This 2013 of Popular Resistance, Dec 20, is by Kerry Drake.
End Homelessness: It is cheaper to give people an apartment than hospital visits, arrests and incarceration.
Give them an apartment first, ask questions later.
Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015.
How’d they do it? The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached.
In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.
Other states are eager to emulate Utah’s results. Wyoming has seen its homeless population more than double in the past three years, and it only provides shelter for 26 percent of them, the lowest rate in the country. City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah’s Housing First program. There’s no telling how far the idea might go.
Ed. Notes: Utah’s response is both humane and efficient. But does it prevent homelessness? To do that, perhaps we need economic justice, so people don’t fall into poverty and hopelessness.