“Not having a roof over your head means living in a continual crisis. The stress of not knowing where you’ll sleep at night, whether your family will be safe, and if you’ll be able to eat can suck up all your energy and your will. Regular stints in jail can only make it more difficult to find stability.”
Salt Lake City had “criminalized” homelessness, which has led to costly jail stays for homeless individuals who can be arrested for something as seemingly minor as loitering in a park.
The Overcriminalized video series, for which The Nation has partnered with Brave New Films, highlights that:
“For the last forty years, this country has continually ratcheted up the number of people behind bars and expanded the reasons we put them there … (Social) problems haven’t been solved. Instead, we’ve locked too many people away and wasted money that could have been spent on interventions that could actually change the course of people’s lives.”
But here is where Housing First has had an impact and is a “step in the right direction.” Spending $7,800 a year to give a homeless individual supportive housing is much more cost effective and humane than spending $20,000 on a homeless person cycling through jails, homeless shelters, emergency rooms, etc.