Cost Analysis Of Homelessness

Cost Analysis Of Homelessness

As of 2013, homelessness cost the Canadian economy $7.05 billion annually (up from $4.5-6 billion in 2007). This includes provision of emergency shelters and community supports, but also accounts for the increased costs of emergency services (including fire, police and EMS), health care, the criminal justice system etc. 

Significant research has been done that explores the cost of housing someone in jail, hospitals or the shelter system compared to housing them in social or supportive housing. The difference is quite shocking. In a 2005 study by Pomeroy which looked at costs in four Canadian cities, institutional responses (jails, hospitals etc.) cost $66,000-$120,000 annually, emergency shelters cost $13,000-$42,000 annually whereas supportive and transitional housing cost $13,000-$18,000 and affordable housing without supports was a mere $5,000-$8,000. 

This cost analysis doesn’t look at the social and human costs. Not only is putting someone in housing cheaper, it is also much more humane. The longer someone remains homeless the greater likelihood that their physical and mental health will deteriorate and there is an increased chance of an early death.

Cost of Homelessness