Homes for the homeless: ‘The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions’


Just wanted to share this amazing article, which is inspiring but also a little depressing at the same time!

‘Utah have taken a Housing First approach in tackling crime since 2004.

It’s now years later. And these days, Mr Walker says, the state saves $US8000 ($10,271) per homeless person in annual expenses.

And now, the chronic homeless are no longer tallied in numbers. They’re tallied by name. The last few are awaiting their houses.’

Housing First means placing homeless people into housing as the first priority as a way to assist with chronic mental health issues.

Due to the initial immediate expense of housing, social policy solutions in Western Countries focus on case management approaches due to long wait lists.  However, this can be expensive, as a safe place to live is paramount to other good life outcomes – how can you improve mental health if you are constantly on the move and unsafe?

According to the article, Utah saves approximately $40,000 per person, per year using the housing first approach. By 2014, Utah had 539 chronically homeless people – a drop of by 72 percent from 2005, when Utah had nearly 1932 chronically homeless. By 2014, that number had dropped 72 per cent to 539. That’s a saving of over 55 million dollars.


Inspiring because common sense has prevailed, but sad because it really is very simple.

Emma x

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