On this page we present detailed results for our Housing First model in Los Angeles. You can find information about the following topics:
There are approximately 13,000 chronically homeless persons in Los Angeles at any given time. We model take-up rate at 50%.
Nearly half of the homeless population in Los Angeles is African American. Approximately of the homeless are Latino, with another quarter being White.
Approximately a third of this group has a severe mental illness and half have a drug or alcohol dependency. On average, someone will spend about 100 days a year in shelter, which costs approximately $68 per night.
Homeless adults have much higher arrest rates than the non-homeless population. While the percentage of arrests for violent crimes is actually lower among the homeless population than the non-homeless population, homeless people are frequently arrested multiple times per year for misdemeanor and public order offenses.
We estimate there to be 82 fewer felony arrests annually and 207 fewer misdemeanor arrests annually with the policy.
Additionally, there would be 41 fewer annual jailings from felonies, and 10 fewer annual incarcerations with the policy in place.
67% of chronically homeless adults in Los Angeles visit an emergency department each year. Studies indicate that the Housing First program moderately reduces the number of Emergency Department visits among the homeless. With the program, we estimate approximately 3,900 fewer ED visits annually.
33% of chronically homeless adults are hospitalized in a given year. Placing these people in stable housing has been shown to reduce hospitalizations. We project that with the program, 1,000 fewer hospitalizations annually.
Participants in the Housing First program are more likely to visit a primary care doctor than non-participants. While this increases public medical spending, this increase is offset by the reduction in emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
We estimate 5,600 additional office-based visits as a result of the policy, annually.
Only 30% of the chronically homeless successfully find employment. With the program, this would increase by 3.3 percentage points - which amounts to 425 additional employed as a result of the policy.
Over two years, the policy will cost $219 million. However, the Housing First program immediately generates financial savings due to the reduction in arrests and incarcerations, Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations, and increases in employment. These account for $44 million to state and local governments over two years.
Overall we project that the program will return $0.20 in state and local savings per dollar invested, using a 3% discount rate.
Sources of Financial Savings
The largest percentage of savings, 81%, comes from reduced ED utilization and hospitalization. The reduction in incarceration and arrests with the program accounts for 14% of savings.
The reduction in emergency department visits and hospitalizations results in another 5% of savings.