Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The cost of homelessness

Homelessness is not free in our society. Homelessness costs taxpayers, and the homeless person still has no home, nor a livelihood. But for some reason, governments don't seem too intent on doing something about this problem; a problem that is not going away. In an article in The Tyee, Monte Paulsen shows the problems on homelessness, and how much it costs taxpayers. Here are a few excerpts from it, but please go to the main article to read more.

… in Canada, homelessness is on the rise; and in the Vancouver region, the official count of homeless persons almost doubled from 1,121 souls in 2002 to 2,174 in 2005.


Homelessness is not cheap. Provincial taxpayers spend up to $40,000 annually per homeless person, according a 2001 study. That money is spent on police calls, hospital visits and other emergency social services.


Housing them all would cost less than half that much money, and numerous studies show that people who live indoors go to jails and hospitals far less than people who live on the streets. The average Canadian spends only $11,200 a year on housing. Even government-run supportive housing -- where residents get social services, such as counselling -- costs only $28,000 a year.


It's cheaper -- not to mention more humane -- to help people pay their rent rather than rescue them after they fail. The majority of Vancouver's homeless are on welfare.


Welfare pays $510 a month to single, employable adults aged 18 to 64. That's broken down into $325 a month for rent, and $185 a month -- or $6 a day -- for everything else. Those rates have not been adjusted since 1991. But the Vancouver area real estate market has changed dramatically. By 2004, according to a report by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the average market rent for a bachelor apartment in Greater Vancouver was $678 per month.

6 comments:

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Homeless is a problem which is solved only one person at a time. It takes an investment of time by many people working with a single homeless person to help raise them out from under the crushing weight of being homeless.

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