Every once in a while someone looks at the cost of a program and asks, "Well, if it costs that much to help a person why don't we just give the money to them directly."
This was the situation in Utah.
There were thousands of people that were described as "chronically homeless." They are the ones on the street for a long time.
Their care (programs, medical help, incarcerations) account for half of the state budget that has been allocated to this issue.
The Homeless Task Force reported that the average cost of care for the chronic homeless is $19,208. This, according to a report on NBC.
Providing a home ends up shaving the cost down to $7,800, according to the same report. As a result, Utah's chronic homeless problem is down by over 90%. They're getting surprisingly close to zero.
I know. There are those who will shout, "that's sending the wrong message" or "what about us who work for a living?"
I hear you. However, this strategy appears to be effective in not only reducing homelessness and the spin-off effects of such hardship, it also has the benefit of providing homes first and jobs and education as the next step.
It's one of those win win situations.
The homeless benefit. The city benefits. Society benefits.
And it costs less.
Other states should take a look into this.