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Housing First Makes Good Sense

The DRC provides community-based, common-sense solutions that put Housing First because housing saves money, improves lives and creates a more vibrant community.

Housing First saves money

Homelessness is costly. More than $30 million—$12 million in public funds and $18 in private contributions—is spent on homeless services in Fort Worth and Tarrant County annually.

Only one in every three of those dollars is spent on solutions like housing that end homelessness.

“Emergency shelters, primary care at the emergency rooms, 9-1-1 response to homeless shelters, detoxification, and the cost incurred by libraries for providing de facto daytime shelter for the homeless are important services to be sure, but do not end homelessness,” according to the City of Fort Worth study that launched its Directions Home program to end chronic homelessness.

Housing, the common sense solution to homelessness, simply costs less. Evidence suggests that as much as $1 million in public money is saved annually for every 100 chronically homeless individuals housed, based on reduced use of hospital care and emergency services. For every 100 individuals housed after short-term homelessness, $630,000 is saved per year.

Housing First improves lives

Homelessness places people of all ages at greater risk of victimization, disease, mental illness and substance abuse than their fellow Americans.

These factors combine to reduce life expectancy for people experiencing homelessness to an average of 64 years, compared to the U.S. average of almost 80 years.

By contrast, housing improves health, based on reduced demand for emergency medical services among people who have escaped homelessness.

Housing First creates a healthy community

The concentration of homeless services in Fort Worth’s East Lancaster Avenue corridor has cost the city an estimated $45 to $779 million dollars in lost taxable property value increases. This economic stagnation compounds the public and private costs of homelessness.

Instead of concentrating services in one neighborhood, DRC solutions reach out to people where they are through colocation, or sharing space with partner agencies. Partnerships extend our reach without the high cost of new facilities. Collocated services and housing combine to form a solution that costs less and works better for all concerned.

Home.

The Bottom Line

We have a choice: we can spend millions to merely manage homelessness or we can invest to end it.