The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: September 25th, 2016
The story of how Utah solved chronic homelessness begins in 2003. The number of chronic homeless had surged since the early 1970s. And related costs were soaring. In 2005, Utah had nearly 1,932 chronically homeless. By 2014, that number had dropped 72 percent to 539. Today, explained Gordon Walker, the director of the state Housing and Community Development Division, the state is approaching a functional zero. How Utah accomplished this didnt require complex theorems or statistical models. For years, the thought of simply giving the homeless homes seemed absurd, constituting the height of government waste. But thats exactly what Utah did. If you want to end homelessness, you put people in housing, Walker said in an interview. This is relatively simple. The state started setting up each chronically homeless person with his or her own house. Then it got them counseling to help with their demons. Such services, the thinking went, would afford them with safety and security that experts say is necessary to re-acclimate to modern life. Homelessness is stressful. Its nearly impossible, most experts agree, to get off drugs or battle mental illness while undergoing such travails. These days, Walker says the state saves $8,000 per homeless person in annual expenses. Weve saved millions on this, Walker said. And now, the chronic homeless are no longer tallied in numbers. Theyre tallied by name. The last few are awaiting their houses.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.