Urban/Rural Cost Analysis Chart

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Interactive Tool | April 15, 2010

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that permanent supportive housing is a cost effective solution to chronic homelessness. The Homelessness Research Institute's Spring 2009 Newletter summarizes some of the more recent peer reviewed studies on the topic. Recently, Maine released a cost analysis of their rural permanent supportive housing program, which uses the same methodology as their previously-released cost analysis of permanent supportive housing in the Greater Portland area. Together, these studies provide a rare opportunity to look at the cost offsets associated with permanent supportive housing in both rural and urban areas. Click here to download the two studies.

The Homelessness Research Institute used the results of the two Maine studies to create an interactive stacked bar chart that illustrates the relative costs of permanent supportive housing and homelessness (prior to supportive housing) for both urban and rural areas. Comparing the size of the bars facilitates comparisons across geography (urban versus rural) and between intervention conditions (before or after housing). The chart illustrates the fact that the increased cost of permanent supportive housing is more than offset by reductions in emergency shelter costs and behavioral health care costs (includes mental health care, substance abuse treatment and case management) in rural and urban areas and reductions is physical health care costs and hospital emergency room costs in urban areas. The chart also reveals that the costs associated with homelessness before supportive housing are higher overall and in each of the largest cost categories (behavioral health, physical health, emergency shelter, and housing) in rural areas of Maine as compared to urban areas of Maine.

Click on the individual bar segments to see annual per person costs in each category.

* Note: The rural study looked at costs for the 6-month period prior to supportive housing. As a result, rural costs before housing are calculated by doubling the 6-month costs.