Utah is making homeowners of the homeless.
According to a comprehensive report about homelessness by the state of Utah, 2005 marked the first year of a ten-year program to end homelessness by giving homeless people homes. The report also states that since then, there has been a 72 percent decline of chronic homelessness in Utah and “chronic homelessness among veterans has reached an effective zero.”
On the Daily Show, a satirical news show, Daily Show staff member Hasan Minhaj interviewed Llyod Pendleton, the director of the homeless task force in Utah in an episode last December about how Utah can afford to give homes to the homeless.
Pendleton said the costs could vary from $10,000 to $12,000 to provide one homeless person with necessities, such as food, and a home. He went on to say that it is much more cost efficient to pay those amounts rather than $20,000 for other costs such as emergency room visits and jail time, which a homeless person cannot pay.
Since this system is working in Utah, other states should give this a shot as well. According to nonprofit organization HomeAid Northern California, the state of California has the highest population of homeless people in the nation. Therefore, all California cities dealing with homelessness should try Utah’s system, but is California capable of doing it?
According to University of Southern California News, there was a “Homeless Cost Study” that focused on observing the costs saved in Los Angeles by giving four homeless individuals homes.
“Investigators found that the total cost of public services spent on the four individuals during two years living on the street was $187,288,” USC News reported. “The cost of public services dropped by more than $20,000 per person during two subsequent years spent in stable, permanent housing.”
After having two years of housing and access to mental and physical health classes, the four individuals were more stable and had an improved quality of life, according to USC News.
Having programs similar to this in California will not only help end homelessness, it will also save money, as with the four homeless people from the study.
According to health news website Reporting on Health, Angelo Solis was a homeless alcoholic who was taken to the hospital frequently for being unconscious in public in Solano County, California. He ended up receiving almost $1 million in medical charges, which tax payers ultimately had to pay. If Solis was given a home and had mental and physical health classes then his hospital visits and charges could have been avoided.
Moreover, by instilling this program, homeless people have a second chance at rebuilding their lives and starting over again. Why not give them that chance