Housing the homeless is challenging.
For every 100 renter households in the U.S. who earn “extremely low income” (30 percent of the median or less), there are only 30 affordable apartments according to a 2013 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Multi-unit, dormitory-style public buildings can be very expensive to build, starting at about $200,000 a unit. That’s why about 10 years ago communities began to explore building small villages comprised of small single units that would offer residents safe places to sleep with limited storage. Residents would have access to communal kitchens and restrooms.
Even at their most expensive, these villages do not come close to the cost of homelessness to taxpayers. For example, in Denver a housing program for the homeless reduced the cost of public services (including medical services, temporary shelter, and costs associated with arrests and incarceration) by an estimated $15,773 per person per year.
In fact, providing transitional supportive housing makes good economic sense.
People who are homeless….
- Visit an emergency room an average of 5 times a year (at an estimated cost of $18,500 to $44,000)
- Spend an average of 3 nights in the hospital per visit
- Are more likely to be re-admitted (in Albuquerque the readmission rate is 30.1% for homeless individuals, about 19% higher than the national average)
Transitional supportive housing can reduce
- Healthcare costs by 59%
- Emergency room costs by 61%
- Number of general inpatient hospitalizations by 77%
- Hospital inpatient costs by 55.9%
Sources: National Alliance to End Homelessness; National Low Income Housing Coalition; Daniel G. Garrett, “The Business Case for Ending Homelessness; Having a Home Improves Health, Reduces Healthcare Utilization and Costs”https://wwwncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046466; Green Doors. The Cost of Homelessness Facts. www.greendoors.org/facts/cost.php
The Goals for the Bernalillo County Tiny Home Village Would Be:
- To provide dignified, safe, stable, and attractive housing for people currently living on the street
- To incorporate housing, services, and employment in order to stabilize people living on the street and reintegrate them back into the community
- To demonstrate that there are viable alternatives to the traditional scattered-site affordable housing model that reach and serve people who are unable to apply for housing under the County and City’s Continuum of Care
- To provide a safe space for those living on the street to wait for traditional affordable housing to become available and to develop a more comprehensive continuum between emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing
- To add deliberate and supported community building, self-development and educational aspects, and employment and earning development to the program following a strengths-based approach.