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Big homeless progress

Apparently there's been a big yet unheralded decline in homelessness in the US, despite the economy, and both Bush and Obama can take credit: the former for a housing-first policy that aimed at providing permanent housing before treatment, the latter for the stimulus. Also, multiple studies show that between arrests and ER visits, homeless people cost $30-45,000 a year, when it'd be $10-16,000 to house them with case worker support.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/08/the-astonishing-decline-of-homelessness-in-america/279050/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/us/30homelessweb.html?_r=0
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/03/24/3418140/charlotte-homeless-study/
Residents of Moore Place collectively visited the emergency room, an
expensive but not uncommon way homeless people access health care, 447
fewer times in the year after getting housing, the study discovered.
Similarly, they spent far less time running afoul of the law, with the
number of arrests dropping 78 percent.
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/27/3441772/florida-homeless-financial-study/
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/09/05/2579451/colorado-homeless-shelter/
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/02/05/3228801/osceola-county-homelessness-criminalization/
An average permanent supportive housing unit in Osceola County costs
$9,602 per year, which includes $8,244 for rent and utility subsidies
and $1,358 for a case manager (with a case load of 30 clients). In other
words, each supported housing unit costs the county 40 percent less than
what they’re currently paying to put homeless residents in jail.

Power law problems when instead of a bell curve of normality, you have a
few outliers who are most of your problem -- a few really bad LAPD cops,
a few chronically homeless people who cost tens if not hundreds of
thousands of dollars, a few highly smoggy cars. managing the middle
doesn't help: most of the cops don't need mild training, and it doesn't
help the hard cases; you need to just get rid of them. It's cheaper to
simply house the hardcase homeless people and give them case workers.
Annual smog tests are mostly not needed or cheatable, vs. on-road
testing.
http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2006-02-13#folio=096

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Damien Sullivan
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