New Project to House Homeless, Save Money

By Vanessa Torres
|  Monday, Jan 31, 2011  |  Updated 12:41 PM PDT
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New Project to House Homeless, Save Money

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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 26: A sign of a man panhandling for money is displayed on the streets of Manhattan October 26, 2009 in New York City. In a recently released report by the advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless it was revealed that the numbers of homeless people using New York City shelters each night has reached an all time high. Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office eight years ago there has been a 45 percent increase in shelter use with over 39,000 homeless people, including 10,000 homeless families, checking in to city shelters every evening. The group also said that 2009 has turned out to be 'the worst on record for New York City homelessness since the Great Depression. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A new project will permanently house at least 25 of San Diego's chronically homeless, and the action is expected to save the City of San Diego a substantial amount of money.

Housing First's three-year plan is called Project 25, and it is a collaboration between the United Way of San Diego County, City of San Diego, County of San Diego and the local non-profit sector. It aims to provide shelter to those who consume the most of the area's public resources.

The chronically homeless represent about 24 percent of the county's homeless population and use 50 percent of the available resources, such as shelters, emergency medical and law enforcement services, mental health support and detox services, according to Project 25.

Without adequate shelter, many of the homeless people suffer from physical and mental illness and require constant emergency medical attention.

A recent study found 15 of San Diego’s most frequent public resource users consume $1.5 million in medical services alone over 1.5 years – nearly $100,000 per person.

Housing First has run successful programs in Denver, Portland, and Los Angeles.

In Portland, the program brought savings of 59 percent in healthcare, 41 percent in mental healthcare, 62 percent in emergency room care, and 66 percent in ambulance and police services.

Over 8,500 homeless people reside in San Diego.

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