Tackling homelessness early could save thousands

  • New research from homelessness charity Crisis has found that by tackling homelessness early the taxpayer could save between £3,000 and £18,000. prevention_this_way.jpg

    The report titled The Financial Costs of Single Homelessness in the UK looks at the economic case for helping homeless people at an early stage, reports 24dash.

    Within the report it warns that without vital help people can quickly spiral out of control leaving them vulnerable to mental health, physical health, crime and drug issues. This will make them harder to help and put a further cost strain on A&E services.

    Conversely, tackling homelessness early enables people to succeed in their lives and to contribute to society and the economy. 

    Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis said: “Homelessness has a terrible human cost, but it’s also incredibly expensive for the public purse. Helping people to stay off the streets and rebuild their lives is about basic social justice – it’s the right thing to do – and this study shows that it makes good economic sense too. Our calculations suggest that it could save the taxpayer as much as £18,000 per year for every person helped. The logic is clear: preventing homelessness saves lives, but also reduces public costs. It’s essential that homeless people get help at an early stage. Yet we know from previous research that single homeless people who ask their councils for help are often turned away with no choice but to sleep on the streets. This can be catastrophic for the individual, but it’s also a false economy for public services. We urgently need a review of the law as it applies to single homeless people so that everyone can get the help they need.”

    Report author, Nicholas Pleace of University of York said: “We are only beginning to understand the real financial costs of homelessness. There is growing international evidence that stopping homelessness is more cost effective than allowing it to persist. We have been able to estimate costs for the UK that strongly suggest the same pattern exists here - that preventing and rapidly stopping homelessness is the option that makes most financial sense.”   

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