Mean = Expensive.
I do not suggest you give up everything to take care of the homeless. Quite the contrary. I am instead suggesting *less* of your tax dollars be spent more intelligently. First-class prenatal care for a hundred women is cheaper than the medical costs of one premature baby, for instance.
It frightens me that so many people are willing to pay thousands of dollars a year extra *for each and every homeless person*, just so they can have the satisfaction of being mean. They may not have thought it through, but that's what it amounts to when jails are the only type of housing we will agree to pay for.
"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." http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183
They aren’t alone in proving it is cheaper to house people than to leave them homeless.
"In Los Angeles, a 2009 pilot study with about 100 people who were homeless put roughly half of them into supported housing and treated the rest the standard way. The actual cost difference for public services was staggering: the housed people cost an average of $605 per month, while the comparable population on the street cost the taxpayers an average of $2,897 per month. " http://www.budgetwatchdogs.org/ab-5-homeless-bill-of-rights/
In other words, Los Angeles would save $27,504 per year for each homeless person they housed.
If we posit a much smaller savings, similar to that seen in Utah, providing homes for all the homeless people in San Francisco could save the city $39,903,200. A year.
You read that right. Thirty-nine million, nine hundred and three thousand, two hundred dollars a year.
Try the math yourself: This being SF, we actually spend $25,000 per year per homeless person, or $38,714 if they are in jail ($107.54 per night). Housing is expensive here, so the housing cost would be higher:
$1,400 per person per month x 12 = $16,800 a year.
$25,000 - $16,800 = $8,200.
Subtract two thousand dollars a year for a social worker, and we save approximately $6,200 per year per homeless person. Or $19,914 if they would have ended up in jail, as about 300 homeless people do every night, basically because they are homeless.
$6,200 (savings) x 6,436 (number of homeless people in SF) = $39,903,200 in savings. That's before we even start talking about any moral issues.
Mean = Expensive.