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Homeless in Santa Clara County: Report puts cost at $520 million a year

Homeless in Santa Clara County Report puts cost at 520 million a year San Jose Mercury News


SAN JOSE -- The human toll of homelessness can be seen daily throughout Santa Clara County with people living on the streets. But now, for the first time, a staggering fiscal cost has been calculated: $520 million annually.

A new study, described as the most comprehensive look ever at the expense of homelessness on a community, has determined that more than $3 billion was spent over a six-year period in the county on services such as trips to the emergency rooms, jail stays and mental health care.

"Home Not Found: The Cost of Homelessness in Silicon Valley" also identified how a small group of about 2,800 persistently homeless alone cost the county about $83,000 each, per year.

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, Awesome, Poverty, Homeless, Societal Woes, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Homelessness, Bay Area Housing

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Half a billion annually sounds like a lot. This is a BIG problem.

It is.  But what is interesting is that it seems like a metaphor for the differences in liberal vs. conservative strategy: By ignoring problems, the poor, and those with issues, we cause bigger problems and spend more money than if we addressed problems directly.  Of course we have to work hard to avoid waste, scams, etc., and we need people to be properly incentivized, but we understand how to do that.  We can engineer proper comprehensive solutions.

Related links: Perhaps they should look around at some successes:

But that’s exactly what Utah did. “If you want to end homelessness, you put people in housing,” Walker said in an interview. “This is relatively simple.”
It’s now years later. And these days, Walker says the state saves $8,000 per homeless person in annual expenses. “We’ve saved millions on this,” Walker said, though the state hasn’t tallied the exact amount.

After reading those I'm more confused. What should we do?

Really solve the homeless problem, stop wastage, stop abusing the poor so that they become even more poor and slide into homelessness.  Carefully engineer solutions that bring people up rather than tearing them down.  Shame abusive communities into reform.  Start to dismantle the privatized prison industry, particularly weeding out any corruption.  ( )  There are many angles to this that need attention.

It sounds so straightforward when you say it that way.

These seem like fixable problems. We just need leaders who want to fix these problems. 

And leaders who are open to the innovation and imagination needed to solve and optimize these problems.  I believe the resources are there if you look a little.

It just needs to become a high enough priority for someone. 

Also a person costing $83,000 per year: That's way more than what a livable wage would cost. 

Now that they have done the tally, I would think so.  How exactly, when real estate costs a fortune, is the next step.  Why not have some type of monitored and managed housing instead of jail?  That might be a way out of the privatized prison mess: Hire those companies, very carefully incentivized, to build and run housing.  Perhaps build housing, entertainment, a park, jobs, etc. right next to jails and prisons: Show people a path out right in front of them.

I like that idea. I'd also think that companies that run prisons could also run housing communities. 

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