House the Homeless to Save Money

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  A recent University of North Carolina study demonstrated that providing the homeless with a place of residence actually saves taxpayer money due to substantially decreased health care and criminal justice system expenses. The study tracked a homeless group for one year before entering that group into an apartment facility, and then for one year afterwards.  Total hospital bills plummeted from $2.5 million in the first year to $760,000 in the latter, while the number of emergency room visits plunged from 571 to 124.  Similarly, arrests declined by 78%, and incarceration by 84%.  The study supports the “housing first” model, which posits that people will more likely deal with addiction and other issues while in a secure home. This model contrasts with other forms of support that require people to get clean before entering the system.