Housing First Is Working in Denver

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According to a new report, Denver’s Housing First program for chronically homeless people saved taxpayers about $712,000 since it was launched two years ago, reported The Denver Post. Through the program, 150 of “the most hard-core homeless people” have been placed in homes and connected to mental health and substance abuse treatment, reported the Rocky Mountain News. Medical, psychiatric, and legal records for 19 of the program participants showed a marked drop in their use of costly services such as emergency room care and jail stays, the News said. On average, in the two years after they joined the program, participants consumed $31,545 less in such services than they did in the two years before they entered the program — a 73 percent drop. Subtracting the cost of the program’s housing and treatment from the cost savings, the study found a net annual savings of $4,745 per person, the article said. To access the study, click here.Within the next few years, the city hopes to have more than 700 chronically homeless people in the program, producing a net savings of more than $3.4 million over two years, according to the Rocky Mountain News. However, funding shortfalls could impede the program’s progress, reported The Denver Post. Three years ago, the federal government provided seed funding for such programs in 11 cities, with $3.4 million going to Denver. The funding ends at the end of January, the article said. Denver will seek other community and government grants to “bridge the gap,” said the president of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

These two articles provide more information:

Housing Plan Saves Money Study: Subsidized Homes Cost Less Than Detox, Hospital Care

Housing First Effort Pays Off for Denver; Getting Homeless Off Streets Can Save Millions, Study Says