At an event on Capitol Hill, former Army Private First Class Alvin Hill, a Veteran from Washington, DC, shared his story of returning home to civilian-life, losing his job and his apartment, and falling into years of homelessness. Mr. Hill remarked that it was “a tragedy that anyone who would put his life on the line for America could return home to sleep on the streets.” In April, Alvin Hill became the 100,000th person to achieve permanent housing through the 100,000 Homes Campaign.
We congratulate Mr. Hill and we congratulate Community Solutions and all of the local and federal partners who have teamed-up to get the job done. This is an incredible milestone.
Here are three things everyone should know about what reaching milestones like this one really means:
- Ending homelessness is absolutely possible. In the three years following the launch of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homeless, we have seen dramatic reductions in homelessness. The huge milestone reached today by the 100,000 Homes Campaign is further proof. The myth that homelessness is an intractable problem or that people somehow choose to be homeless is busted.
- We know how to end homelessness. We know the solutions. We know the resources that are needed. And we have the right plan, with the right goals and strategies being implemented all across the country. Housing First, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing are the evidence-base approaches that are solving homelessness. The President’s 2015 Budget request, if funded by Congress, invest in those solutions—giving communities the resources they need to end Veteran and chronic homelessness for good. And Opening Doors provides everyone—all levels of governments, private and not-for-profit partners, and all stakeholders—with a roadmap for effective and strategic action that will end homelessness. Partners like Community Solutions—in no small way— are helping to drive what works.
- Ending homelessness is cheaper than doing nothing. The 100,000 Homes Campaign estimates the achievement today represents $1.3 billion in annual taxpayer savings. We know that just one person experiencing chronic homelessness can cost communities between $30,000 to $50,000 per year in emergency room visits, hospitalizations, jails, prisons, psychiatric centers, detox programs, and other costly services. But solving the problem — connecting someone to permanent housing with the supportive services they need to achieve health and stability—only costs about $20,000 annually. The math is simple.
Today, we celebrate that 100,000 people have left the street and have achieved a safe and stable place to call home. Let's harness this momentum and move with greater urgency toward ensuring no one has to experience homelessness. Our neighbors, our Veterans, our families, children and youth are counting on us.
To learn more about the campaign, visit: 100Khomes.org.