Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, January 23, 2014

Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015. How did Utah accomplish this? Simple. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah's Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but they keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah's.

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If these people are homeless they're also likely without a job. So how are they going to keep their homes up -- repairs, routine maintenance, utilities and the like? It's not cheap owning a house. And what about property taxes? Who pays those?

#1 | Posted by CalifChris at 2014-01-22 05:49 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

OMG - don't tell Obummer...will be mandated

#2 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2014-01-22 06:04 PM | Reply | Flag:

Where are all the rants and bulls**** about Mormons ? Huh? Utah does something good and the liberals just shut up. That's the stance they should always on every issue anyway so they make sense.

#3 | Posted by sames1 at 2014-01-22 06:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

The people of Utah are mostly conservatives and so I'm a little surprised but this is a great idea. I hope though that this effort isn't ruined by folks who suddenly choose to be homeless just to get free rent.

#4 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-22 06:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

Most good ideas come from conservatives but the problem is "regressives" minds don't allow them to think outside the box. Also, these folks weren't given homes but apartments.

#5 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-22 06:20 PM | Reply | Flag:

#1 | Posted by CalifChris

They're not actually giving away stand-alone homes. They're putting them in apartments.

I hope though that this effort isn't ruined by folks who suddenly choose to be homeless just to get free rent.

#4 | Posted by danni

A had concerns about that as well.

#6 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-01-22 06:21 PM | Reply | Flag:

I hope though that this effort isn't ruined by folks who suddenly choose to be homeless just to get free rent.
#4 | Posted by danni

Interesting thought, can it be applied to other hand outs as well?

#7 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-01-22 06:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

I'm surprised to see none of our DR Righties screaming about free handouts and bemoaning welfare to the poor.

This is awesome! I hope more states follow Utah's example. I would imagine this will be a boon to their economy.

#8 | Posted by ClownShack at 2014-01-22 06:27 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

#7

Why do so many conservatives assume that a significant number of those on social assistance choose to remain poor, just to receive social assistance?

#9 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-01-22 06:32 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I hope this works.

#10 | Posted by Tor at 2014-01-22 06:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Interesting thought, can it be applied to other hand outs as well?"

I've never said we don't need constant vigilance to prevent fraud and abuse of social programs. I've posted many time about the frauds perpetrated with SS Disability. I don't think though that we should end the programs, there are too many who need those programs and can't earn enough to have a home and enough to eat.

#11 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-22 06:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

I hope though that this effort isn't ruined by folks who suddenly choose to be homeless just to get free rent.

#4 | POSTED BY DANNI AT 2014-01-22 06:11 PM | REPLY | FLAG

I thought that as well, but the article states that each person is also assigned a case worker to help with self sufficiency. I would hope that having someone help with this would weed out those that choose to be homeless.

That being said, even if there are a few scamming the system, this is still a great program! As you mentioned in #11, you simply need better vigilance and the caseworkers should provide this vigilance. Good job Utah.

#12 | Posted by bartimus at 2014-01-22 07:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

Next, they will start rehabilitating drug offenders instead of throwing them in jail.

IT IS A SIGN OF THE END TIMES!

See? Mormons are trying to imminentize the Eschaton.

#13 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2014-01-22 07:31 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Next, they will start rehabilitating drug offenders instead of throwing them in jail.

#13 | Posted by HeliumRat

Wouldn't that be amazing.

#14 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2014-01-23 12:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

Cost effective solutions are often unpopular. Giving homeless people free homes and apartments is a cost effective solution when adding up all the different costs. It is just that many people have a knee jerk aversion to giving anyone anything for 'free'. Just as many people would rather lock up drug users rather than take the cost effective approach of monumentally expanding drug rehab availability. Just as many people would rather have the death penaly rather than take the proven cost effective route of LWOP (life without parole). Time and again our reactionary values get in the way of cost effective common sense and compassion.

#15 | Posted by moder8 at 2014-01-23 03:43 PM | Reply | Flag:

In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker.

but... but... Handouts!

#16 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-23 03:48 PM | Reply | Flag:

Well thought out and bravo Utah! Europe has been doing this with the Gypsy population for years, but the apartments sure do get crowded with the goats, chickens, donkey ....

#17 | Posted by CrisisStills at 2014-01-23 04:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

So giving them a home is supposed to remove the medical and jail cost? Hmm, someone did not think this through.

#18 | Posted by salamandagator at 2014-01-23 04:32 PM | Reply | Flag:

Is there a state out there where one would have a more difficult time procuring drugs or alcohol? I don't really think so.

I'm going to hazard a guess that the homeless dude in SLC is a different breed than the one under the Burnside bridge in Portland.

#19 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 04:43 PM | Reply | Flag:

Well getting these people off the street would overall reduce that cost to the state. They don't pay taxes so would you rather have your money go towards protecting and maintainance of the city or to the homeless ER visits or Jail? Think about it. .

#20 | Posted by skysam14 at 2014-01-23 05:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why did I work may ass off to be debt free, just to see others getting it free.

It pisses me off.

#21 | Posted by bat4255 at 2014-01-23 05:35 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why did I work may ass off to be debt free, just to see others getting it free.
It pisses me off.

#21 | POSTED BY BAT4255

Just quit your job and move to Utah.

#22 | Posted by ClownShack at 2014-01-23 05:36 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why do so many conservatives assume that a significant number of those on social assistance choose to remain poor, just to receive social assistance?

#9 | POSTED BY WHATSLEFT AT 2014-01-22 06:32 PM | REPLY | FLAG:

They are just envious of the $1.89 per day in food stamps.

#23 | Posted by 726 at 2014-01-23 05:45 PM | Reply | Flag:

Why did I work may ass off to be debt free, just to see others getting it free.
It pisses me off.

#21 | POSTED BY BAT4255 AT 2014-01-23 05:35 PM | REPLY | FLAG

From what I see, you are still a huge ass. Keep working it off.

#24 | Posted by 726 at 2014-01-23 05:46 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Frankly most of the chronically homeless are mentally ill and/or addicts. One of our great challenges as a society is dealing with the Mentally Ill and we are failing miserably.

As for the other - most have a desire to do better for themselves and/or their families. If you think life on welfare is easy street - take the 30 day challenge and try it out. There is a cycle to poverty it is a very difficult cycle to break.

#25 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2014-01-23 06:10 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Well getting these people off the street would overall reduce that cost to the state. They don't pay taxes so would you rather have your money go towards protecting and maintainance of the city or to the homeless ER visits or Jail? Think about it. ."

there is a 5000 dollar difference if it meant that there were no additional cost and assuming that they would stop committing crimes and stop getting sick. Those are bad assumptions to make.

#26 | Posted by salamandagator at 2014-01-23 06:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

salamandagator - Don't forget they are a very conservative and very Republican state and I am sure they did the math. Keep in mind this program is now 8 years old.

#27 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2014-01-23 06:37 PM | Reply | Flag:

Anything is better than having to exist homeless. While the program may not work in all cases, the few it does save will be worth having tried it. One never knows when their own luck may run out.

#28 | Posted by CalifChris at 2014-01-23 07:20 PM | Reply | Flag:

Good for Utah!
(I think I may have pulled a muscle saying that.)

#29 | Posted by censored at 2014-01-23 08:20 PM | Reply | Flag:

#13 | POSTED BY HELIUMRAT

[fnord]!

#30 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-01-23 09:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

From what I see, you are still a huge ass. Keep working it off.

#24 | POSTED BY 726

I can't, there's no ass left.

Only attitude.

#31 | Posted by bat4255 at 2014-01-23 09:43 PM | Reply | Flag:

But won't Utah's policy invite an influx of homeless, maybe a never ending stream of those looking for a free apartment?

#32 | Posted by lel2007 at 2014-01-23 09:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

But won't Utah's policy invite an influx of homeless, maybe a never ending stream of those looking for a free apartment?
#32 | Posted by lel2007 at 2014-01-23 09:47 PM

I'm sure plenty of people would rather be homeless in Hawaii, but it's a valid point. While, my guess is that the vast majority of the homeless will lack the resources and capacity for strategic thinking to place that plan into action, other states might take advantage of the situation to ship their homeless to Utah. After all, it's happened before.

#33 | Posted by censored at 2014-01-23 10:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

The advantage of having a philosophy of state's rights over big central government is that each state can serve as a pilot program that can ultimately provide opportunity to experiment and compete for advantage with other states.

#34 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-23 11:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

The advantage of having a philosophy of state's rights over big central government is that each state can serve as a pilot program that can ultimately provide opportunity to experiment and compete for advantage with other states. #34 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-23 11:03 PM

Or each state can take advantage of the other states to shift their burdens upon them. Here, for instance, Texas can offer each of their homeless a bus ticket to Utah. Similarly, before Obamacare, uninsured sick people had an incentive to move to Massachusetts to take advantage of Massachusetts's rules on pre-existing conditions. In each case, the taxpayers and residents of the more generous state would end up taking the hit.

#35 | Posted by censored at 2014-01-23 11:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

Or each state can take advantage of the other states to shift their burdens upon them. Here, for instance, Texas can offer each of their homeless a bus ticket to Utah. Similarly, before Obamacare, uninsured sick people had an incentive to move to Massachusetts to take advantage of Massachusetts's rules on pre-existing conditions. In each case, the taxpayers and residents of the more generous state would end up taking the hit.

#35 | POSTED BY CENSORED AT 2014-01-23 11:33 PM | REPLY | FLAG:

I don't think that is happening in this case. Since the inception of the program, Utah homelessness has dropped 78%. If other states were shipping homeless people to UT or if there were a huge influx of "voluntary" homeless, I doubt you would see such a drastic drop in homelessness. You'd see the rate stay the same while seeing larger and larger costs. Nothing in the article indicated this is happening.

#36 | Posted by bartimus at 2014-01-24 04:34 AM | Reply | Flag:

there is a 5000 dollar difference if it meant that there were no additional cost and assuming that they would stop committing crimes and stop getting sick. Those are bad assumptions to make.

#26 | POSTED BY SALAMANDAGATOR AT 2014-01-23 06:33 PM | REPLY | FLAG:

From Wikipedia (not specific to UT but specific to this initative):

"The Denver Housing First Collaborative, operated by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, provides housing through a Housing First approach to more than 200 chronically homeless individuals. A 2006 cost study documented a significant reduction in the use and cost of emergency services by program participants as well as increased health status. Emergency room visits and costs were reduced by an average of 34.3 percent. Hospital inpatient costs were reduced by 66 percent. Detox visits were reduced by 82 percent. Incarceration days and costs were reduced by 76 percent." en.wikipedia.org

Costs for incarceration and healthcare don't have to drop to 0; they just have to drop below the $5,670 difference, which is about 1/3 of the original costs. Since hospital costs are down 66% and incarceration costs are down 76%, sounds like the threshold for savings has been reached. This doesn't even touch on any incidental savings like food stamps, increased tax revenue from productive members of society, etc.

#37 | Posted by bartimus at 2014-01-24 05:04 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Or each state can take advantage of the other states to shift their burdens upon them.

#35 | Posted by censored

Ultimately this will happen and there will be temporary advantages and disadvantages along the way for both consumers and those who benefit. The end objective is to find something that obviously works. Flash cuts of massive federal programs that have never been piloted or debugged rarely work.

#38 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-24 01:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

One never knows when their own luck may run out.

#28 | Posted by CalifChris

I hear California is also helping the homeless..they are now going to provide no strings attached free one way bus tickets to Utah.

#39 | Posted by donnerboy at 2014-01-24 01:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

#24 is NW.

#40 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2014-01-24 03:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

Actually, here in Utah, we dry out the homeless and make them in to those yummy little emergency food packs people love to buy from survivalist stores (really, look at the addresses for many of the survivalist food stores, quite a few are based here in Utah). This free home thing is a bait/cover story to explain why being homeless here is better than anywhere else, and where they go.
Sure, send us your homeless, we'll sell them back to paranoid militia men.

#41 | Posted by blah at 2014-01-24 07:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

Frankly most of the chronically homeless are mentally ill and/or addicts. One of our great challenges as a society is dealing with the Mentally Ill and we are failing miserably.
As for the other - most have a desire to do better for themselves and/or their families. If you think life on welfare is easy street - take the 30 day challenge and try it out. There is a cycle to poverty it is a very difficult cycle to break.
#25 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2014-01-23 06:10 PM

Precisely. The cretinous Republicans on the DR don't care about humanity, either their own or dignity for others'. They are merely lumping all homeless citizens into one easily despised category - moochers.

The facts are that the vaaaast majority of them are suffering from mental illness and drug dependency. Giving them a safe place and counseling is both sane and an efficient manner of re-introducing these people to direct assistance for both situations. It's been going successfully for 8 years in Utah all the while other states allow their "conservatives" to run roughshod over their most needy and misunderstood citizens, spending monies on incarceration and removing social services entirely.

Political conservatism is an obviously destructive mental disease, imo.

#42 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2014-01-24 07:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

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