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Homelessness: Next Steps Dr. Dan Gerlowski If you have not done so you are encouraged to read “Million Dollar Murray” by Malcolm Gladwell. It is available.

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Presentation on theme: "Homelessness: Next Steps Dr. Dan Gerlowski If you have not done so you are encouraged to read “Million Dollar Murray” by Malcolm Gladwell. It is available."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Homelessness: Next Steps Dr. Dan Gerlowski If you have not done so you are encouraged to read “Million Dollar Murray” by Malcolm Gladwell. It is available at:

3 What are the Costs to Society of Homelessness?  If the homeless would contribute to economy/society but for the fact that they are homeless, then there is an opportunity cost to the homeless.  For some individuals who are not homeless, there is a loss in utility, or welfare, in simply knowing there are some homeless in society.  More can be learned by considering the causes and correlates of homelessness.

4 Homeless Causes/Correlates?  The list of factors associated with being homeless is vast, some common “groups” of factors include Economic Mental health Substance Abuse Domestic Violence Other things  The underlying problem is that we don’t know if homelessness causes those things/ or if those things cause homeless / or if they are simultaneously determined.  The situation is more complex because of the “types” of homelessness Shorter term emergency Shorter term extended Longer term – “Chronic” – an official definition.

5 What did we learn from Million Dollar Murray? ?  We learned that Murray suffered from many “ills”  Clearly he was an alcoholic and had been in and out of treatment.  We learned that a small percentage of the “homeless” are responsible for a very large percentage of the costs of treating homeless people Sheltering costs Medical costs Costs for police and medical services.  We also learned that sometimes when people are given housing that they can afford, some of the other “ills” disappear – not for all but for some. This is the argument for “Housing First”  This is the “current thinking” and has focused attention on the “hows” and the “whys”

6 What are the costs and benefits in treating the homeless  In Utah the argument is made that medical and police service costs for homeless are $16,670 per person while it costs about $11,000 per person for a home. Program in Utah homelessness-giving-people-homes Housing Works Program.http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending- homelessness-giving-people-homes Video report on program in Utah Utah Report October chronically-families.html.csp reports homelessness increasing but not chronic homelessness. chronically-families.html.csp Official Report Homelessness in Utah  Estimates vary widely Very good, unbiased source Almost as good, but somewhat less than objective source

7 What are the costs and benefits in treating the homeless (2)  There is more and more high quality scholarly research on the costs of homelessness New England Journal of Medicine (1989). y y There is a very readable study in Los Angeles at _homeless_and_housed_in_los_angeles/ _homeless_and_housed_in_los_angeles/ And a more recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA  These studies estimate and provide a way to estimate the costs of serving the homeless.

8 The Entrepreneurial Problem  Given the costs of homelessness, is there a role for entrepreneurs to solve the problem?  Some of the studies identified private, philanthropic efforts, were these entrepreneurial?  If you were to think about a “pitch” for funding from government and other sources, what would the characteristics of that pitch be?


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