Homelessness Costing Santa Clara County $520 Million A Year

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County’s homeless situation is proving to be very expensive, costing the country more than half a billion dollars a year.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, a new study found homelessness has cost the county $3 billion over six years. That’s what Santa Clara County paid in trips to the emergency room, jail and mental health care for the homeless.

Santa Clara County got these numbers by mining the data of 104,000 homeless people between 2007 to 2012.

Here’s a breakdown of that half billion a year price tag.

HEALTH CARE COSTS: 53 percent
JUSTICE SYSTEM COSTS: 34 percent
SOCIAL SERVICES: 13 percent

There’s also a group of about 2,800 chronically homeless people that costs the county about $83,000 a year.

“What this shows is that having people live out in the open is tragic for the individual, destabilizing for the community and, at the end of the day, very expensive for the public,” Dan Flaming, president of Los Angeles-based Economic Roundtable, told the Mercury News. “The people who are the most tragic are the ones where there can be real cost savings simply by housing them.”

The findings will be presented later on Tuesday to a community leader forum. One of the topics to be discussed will be about the lower cost and better policy to put the homeless in housing.

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