It’s cheaper to provide last resort housing to homeless people than to leave them sleeping rough, a new SGS Economics and Planning cost-benefit analysis has found.
The University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Society Institute homelessness study The Case for Investing in Last-Resort Housing found that 75 per cent of economic benefits of providing emergency accommodation would flow back to the community.
The cost-benefit analysis led by SGS Principal and Partner Ellen Witte found that for every $1 invested in last-resort beds to address the homelessness crisis, $2.70-worth of benefits are generated for the community over 20 years. This means providing one person with a last-resort bed would generate a net benefit of $216,000 over 20 years. That averages to a net benefit of $10,800 per year.
Ellen Witte said cost-benefit analysis found governments and society benefit more than they spend by providing last-resort housing to homeless individuals. The savings are mainly through reduced healthcare costs, reduced crime, and people getting back into employment or education.
There is much to gain in economic and social terms, both for government and society, by assisting the homeless. If you provide people with a roof over their head, we see savings in demand for health care especially emergency department admissions; reduced crime rate – people who are homeless especially sleeping rough are more involved in crime as both victims and perpetrators - and importantly also improved human capital. So people are better able, once they have a roof over their head, to re-engage with the workforce and education and contribute to society.
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