Home Not Found: The Cost of Homelessness in Silicon Valley
Economic Roundtable Research Report, 2015
68 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016
Date Written: May 26, 2015
This report analyzes 25 million records for the entire population of residents who experienced homelessness in Santa Clara County at any point from 2007 to 2012 – a total of 104,206 individuals. This information includes the demographic and medical attributes of each person, justice system history, services received, and the cost of those services. Records for this population were linked across all justice system, health care, social service, nonprofit, and housing agencies. With information about over one hundred thousand people over six years, including detailed records from each service provider, this is the largest and most comprehensive body of information that has been assembled in the United States to understand the public costs of homelessness.
The Santa Clara County community spent $520 million a year providing services for homeless residents over the six years covered by this study. Health care costs accounted for 53 percent of expenditures for homeless persons. Social welfare agencies including nonprofit service providers and county Social Services accounted for 13 percent of expenditures. Justice system agencies accounted for 34 percent of expenditures, most of it for jail costs. Homeless costs are heavily skewed toward a comparatively small number of frequent users of public and medical services. For example, for all county residents experiencing homelessness in 2012, the average annual cost per person was $5,148. However, individuals with costs in the top 5% accounted for 47 percent of all costs and had average costs of over $100,000 per year.
Keywords: Avoidance, Chronic, Cost, Data Linkage, Disabilities, Health Care, Homelessness, Hospital, Housing, Jail, Justice System, Mental Illness, Permanent Supportive Housing, Planning, Prevention, Priority, Problems, Public Assistance, Risk, Santa Clara County, Screening, Services, Silicon Valley, Services
JEL Classification: C81, D63, H11, H51, H53, I31, I32, I38, R31
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