The costs of homelessness is rarely discussed. We mostly hear statistics about the number of children living on the streets, the vast number of hungry individuals fed in soup kitchens, and the dangers that homeless families face during severe weather.
As communities, we pull together by donating to food banks and participating in homeless outreach programs, even though government regulations are putting limits on where and how we can help the homeless. (see: 90 Year Old Man Arrested for Feeding the Homeless).
We are naturally inclined to want to help people in need, but most of us don’t understand the economics of caring for the homeless.
Often funded by government subsidies, charity organizations and sometimes private patrons, taking care of the homeless carries a significant price tag, once you add up the cost of running emergency shelters and transitional housing, collecting and distributing food and clothing, offering mental health, rehabilitation and employment assistance, etc. What do these costs amount to?