Homelessness has increased 60% in the past 5 years…
Human Cost of Homelessness
Vol. Schools Claims 1,900 homeless children
Over 2,384 people identified as sleeping on the streets on Jan. 29th 2013
23% of Volusia’s homeless are Veterans
People are living in the woods, on the streets, and in cars
Many people struggle with chronic disease like diabetes.
66% Suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse
40% of the homeless in Volusia County are not mentally ill or addicted to drugs/alcohol. For that 40% there are only 21 shelter beds and virtually no supportive services to transition people back into society.
Loss of self-respect and dignity; inadequate housing; job loss and/or financial strain may lead to increases in domestic violence, illness, substance use and abuse or emotional breakdown.
Financial Cost of Homelessness
71$ a day to house someone in the Volusia County Jail vs. $13 a day for housing in Pinellas Safe Harbor.
Law Enforcement efforts directed at homelessness, vagrancy and panhandling versus crime prevention, Daytona Beach $650,000 DeLand $ $235,110
Jail: Homeless people are getting arrested at alarming rates and filling up the jail. We are 7% over capacity.
Cost to Substance Abuse Treatment Providers: $22,219,740
Mental Health Providers: $4,693,266
The cost of a chronically homeless individual living on the street on public systems like the hospital and jail is five times greater than a chronically homeless individual in permanent supportive housing. In fact, Halifax Hospital spent 40.9 million in charity services last year.
The “explosion” in homelessness has a major financial impact on publicly funded services, including emergency rooms and hospitals, law enforcement, the court system, county jail, and our public schools. Our elected officials, business community, and social service providers all recognize the scope of the problem and they have worked together to come up with a 10-year plan to end homelessness. Despite those conversations, the problem is continuing to grow and money to implement the plan is scarce.
Research based on a best practice: Pinellas Safe Harbor
“Pinellas Safe Harbor (“The Harbor”) is a cost-effective shelter and service headquarters for the criminal justice system involved homeless in Pinellas County, as well as a portal of reentry for inmates reentering our community from the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Pinellas County Jail (PCJ).
The primary purpose of Pinellas Safe Harbor is jail diversion—that is to keep the homeless out of the criminal justice system. The Harbor will provide these men and women with a safe environment while they pursue services needed to get back on their feet. As a result, the population of ordinance violators, and non-violent offenders would be reduced in the Jail, at a significant savings to taxpayers.” http://www.safeharborpinellas.org
In Voluisa County, a night in jail cost tax payers 71$. Pinellas Safe Harbor Costs only $13 a day. The average stay is only 47 days. FAITH sees a model similar to Pinellas safe harbor as essential to turning the tide and reducing the number of street homeless in Volusia County. FAITH would like like the county council to include the following elements in the model to be implemented in Volusia County:
Emergency Shelter Beds, Intake Process, Case Management, Street Outreach Services, and S.A.V.E. Docket Management and Connection to Volusia Court System. Also important to the success of a similar model in Volusia County will be the inclusion of social service agencies not limited to healthcare, mental healthcare, job training, and food services.
A Case for funding: We do not want to take away funding from any existing social service agencies. We have decided not to ask for an additional tax. Of course we will be encouraging the Volusia/Flagler Homeless Coalition and the County to apply for Community Development Block Grants, but there are plenty of places the money should come from in our budget because building a homeless assistance centers will save us money! For example, we spend money on recreation, which is going to bring more tourism a couple hundred miles more trails or a panhandling free environment?
We want to make this a win-win situation for everyone!
Tax payers and Volusia County residents, elected officials, homeless people who are suffering, and everyone in our community.