A new study by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles shows that providing housing for the vast homeless population in Los Angeles may actually save taxpayers’ money. A survey showed that those living on the street may incur more expenses than those incurred by public housing, through more frequent trips to the hospital, mental health clinics, and jail, which are paid for with tax dollars.
Of course, providing public housing isn’t a perfect solution; as with any complex situation, there is no easy fix. The researchers noted that “chronically homeless residents feared that public housing would be taken from them” and it “took time for them to overcome their suspicions. Even so, as they became more comfortable, “their qualify of life improved, with many getting off drugs and alcohol and finding permanent jobs”.
Another major factor to consider is mental illness. “Putting those folks…into housing is nothing but warehousing them without treatment,” says Tony Bell, spokesman for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. That being said, the government would need to address “the particular needs of the homeless before their problems become debilitating”.
The United Way hopes to educate the public about their findings, and hopefully, to use them to bring about positive change regarding the issues of homelessness in Los Angeles.
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