Permanent Housing Less Expensive
Than Homeless Shelters
On May 8, 2015 Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes moderated a workshop focused on ending homelessness.
The workshop was part of New Jersey Association of Counties’ (NJAC) annual conference in Atlantic City.
Hughes spoke about Mercer County’s recent success in reducing family homelessness.
Through Rapid Rehousing, Mercer has been able to reduce its number of homeless families by 74% since 2007, almost double the statewide rate and more than four times the national rate.
“I’m pleased to have another opportunity to discuss our comprehensive, collaborative efforts to reduce the numbers of homeless people in Mercer County, and I’m happy to share to ideas with other panelists and those attending the NJAC workshop. I hope Mercer County serves as motivation and a model for other communities that are looking for proven ways to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors achieve better lives.”
The other panelists included:
- Deb Ellis, Executive Director, NJ Coalition to End Homelessness
- Julia Orlando, Director, Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services Center
- Forrest Gilmore, Atlantic County Department Head of Family and Community Development
- Ann Thoresen, MSW, LSCW, Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County
- Greg DiNardo, Data Analyst, Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County
Hughes reported that Mercer’s positive results make the case that housing is less expensive then emergency shelter.
“What we’ve learned in Mercer is that it is actually less expensive to get families into permanent housing than it is to shelter. The average cost to rapidly rehouse a family is $16,200 compared to sheltering a family, where the average cost is $32,127. Rapid Re-housing decreases public assistance spending per family by 50 percent.”
Hughes participated in a four-person panel discussing the topic “Ending Homelessness While Saving Money: Models from Mercer, Bergen, and Atlantic Counties.”
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