Cost Study Reveals Price of Homelessness

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Story and photos by Andrew Avitt

Destination: Home, a program of The Health Trust, in partnership with The Economic Round Table, conducted a cost study revealing the cost of homelessness in Santa Clara County to be $520 million annually.

The cost study “Home Not Found: The Cost of Homelessness in Silicon Valley,” shows that more than $2.5 billion have been spent over a six-year period on health related services and costs associated with the justice system for homeless families and individuals.

By combining diverse data streams to analyze the population that experienced homelessness in Santa Clara County between 2007 and 2012, the study found that the top 5% of the homeless population
accounts for 47% of all public costs.

The study, which represents the largest and most comprehensive body of information on the public costs of homelessness that has been assembled in the United States, has many surprising implications.

Our work with Housing 1000 (a Housing First program) shows that, although the persistently homeless cost an average of $83,000 to taxpayers per year, the average post housing cost is estimated at $19,767, resulting in annual cost reduction of $42,706 for those who remained housed.

Recently, The Health Trust, along with numerous other philanthropic funders including, The Sobrato Family Foundation, The California Endowment, The County of Santa Clara, The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), The James Irvine Foundation, and, acted upon that compelling data by funding California’s first Pay for Success project, which focuses on serving the chronically homeless in Santa Clara County.

The Pay for Success project: “Project Welcome Home” will provide housing and supportive services for the chronically homeless and aims to improve quality of life and reduce reliance on costly government services.

Not too often is the right thing to do also the most effective. Through the efforts of public and private agencies and homeless service providers, strategies like prevention, rapid re-housing and supportive housing have been proven to work. Now armed with the data from the Home Not Found Cost Study, these strategies can be deployed with even greater

To learn more about the Home Not Found Cost Study or Destination: Home please visit