Helping the Homeless: Is it as simple as putting them in an apartment?

ApartmentWIZ received interesting information from a new governmental study published in March 2010.  According to numbers recently released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it is cheaper for communities to help the homeless by putting them in rental apartments instead of emergency shelters or transitional housing.

In the City of Houston, it costs a monthly average of only $743 to house a family in a two bedroom apartment, instead of $1400 to house the same family in an emergency shelter.  These figures, part of HUD’s first comprehensive study on costs to house newly homeless, reveal an opportunity for communities to save money and continue to provide housing solutions for homeless.

In most cases, the study shows the cost of providing housing through homeless programs is much greater than the actual cost of providing market rate rental assistance through support services.  Houston’s average monthly cost to house a homeless individual is $2,257, and is $11,627 for a homeless family.  Money saved by transitioning homeless into permanent housing could free up resources initially allocated other kinds of homeless assistance.

The study supports the housing first method used by many communities in the Northeast.   This method promotes getting individuals and families out of housing shelters and into permanent housing as soon as possible.

Perhaps this method needs to be further examined by the Houston community.  ApartmentWIZ awaits further studies as to the effectiveness of the housing first method, and will readily provide assistance to the community.

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