School of Social Work

No. 28 M.S.W. Program in the U.S.

It’s cheaper to give homeless men and women a permanent place to live than to leave them on the streets.

That’s according to a study of an apartment complex for formerly homeless people in Charlotte, N.C., that found drastic savings on health care costs and incarceration.

Moore Place houses 85 chronically homeless adults, and was the subject of a study by the University of North Carolina Charlotte released on Monday. The study found that, in its first year, Moore Place tenants saved $1.8 million in health care costs, with 447 fewer emergency room visits (a 78 percent reduction) and 372 fewer days in the hospital (a 79 percent reduction).

UNCC assistant professor Lori Thomas [Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work Ph.D. alumna] , who directed the study, said she found the health care and incarceration improvement among the tenants particularly notable, given how vulnerable the tenants are. Most tenants have two or more disabling health-related conditions, and nearly half suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the study reported.

“This compassionate perspective is a better way to honor the humanity of a person, but it also works from a fiscally responsible perspective,” Thomas said. “This really is a win-win.”

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