This report from Project H.O.M.E aims to connect new research on Philadelphia with the multiple studies that conclude that housing, in combination with service supports for persons who are chronically homeless leads to a significant drop in acute services use and a net cost savings to the City and its taxpayers. In other words, addressing homelessness by providing permanent supportive housing both ensures quality of life for everyone and saves precious public resources.
This report focuses on people who are chronically homeless as opposed to those who are episodically homeless. Due to their increased utilization of physical and mental health, criminal justice, and other acute public services, chronically homeless persons account for a disproportionate share of public costs, though they constitute a small percentage of shelter users overall.
The issues facing people who are homeless are complex and cannot be solved in a one-size-fits-all approach – people are different and a variety of solutions are
needed for multiple sub-populations, including people with severe mental illnesses, substance abuse, those aging out of foster care, people with AIDS and chronic medical conditions, and others.
This report lays out the scope of chronic homelessness in Philadelphia and describes the expenses involved in ignoring the problem. Readers will find “Do the Math” highlights throughout this document which illustrate the cost savings associated with permanent housing with supports. It is our hope that this document will be used to:
- Influence policy-makers to make sound funding allocation decisions based on solid economic arguments;
- Inform residents of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods that increased quality of life can be attained for the entire community by resolving a person’s chronic homelessness;
- Serve as a resource for media contacts as they report on pressing community issues; and
- Contribute to a climate of recovery that promotes respect and higher quality of life for every individual in our community.