Costs & System Savings
Evidence in Alberta underscores findings from elsewhere on return on investment in Housing First programs.
For example, when 72 people with complex needs were housed and supported in Calgary, evaluation showed that the average cost of services used after 12 months of Housing First program intervention went from
Counting the cost of their housing and support, these service participants went from being homeless in shelters using services for about $55,000 per year, to being housed at a cost of about $21,000. This means that a $34,000 net savings was realized among this group with complex needs.
In Edmonton, costs associated with homelessness have also decreased for Housing First participants. In an evaluation of Ambrose Place, a permanent supportive housing program, system use declined considerably, finding large decreases in inpatient admissions, inpatient days, emergency department visits, and EMS events, especially those related to addiction and mental health.
When permanent supportive housing and managed alcohol programs are combined, an average net benefit of $53,100 per person is attained. The annual societal cost of not implementing such housing and supports for the target population is $116,000 per person, per year, or 118% higher.