Los Angeles Project 50 shows it costs more to leave vulnerable neighbors on the street than it does to house them permanently

A research authority with the County of Los Angeles has released its cost-effectiveness findings on Project 50, the County’s ambitious 2007 effort to move its most long-term, vulnerable homeless people into permanent housing. The report compared a cohort of long-term homeless individuals who did not participate in Project 50 to those who did. Its conclusion may not surprise many of you: it costs more to leave vulnerable neighbors on the street than it does to house them permanently. Some of the highlights:

  • Between 2008 and 2010, Project 50 cost the county $3.045 million but generated $3.284 million in estimated savings. That is equivalent to a $4,774 surplus for each apartment provided. This is a 7.2% return on investment over 2 years.
  • Incarceration costs for program participants fell 28% in their first year in Project 50, compared to a 42% increase for non-participants.
  • Medical costs for Project 50participants fell 68% in their first year, compared to a 37% drop for the control group.

Read the Los Angeles Times article about Project 50 here.

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