EOH Comparative Studies on Homelessness:
Number 3 - 2013

The Costs of Homelessness in Europe: An Assessment of the Current Evidence Base

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Comparative Studies N°3 - The Costs of Homelessness in Europe

Human rights considerations should form the basis of public homelessness policy and be the driving force for stakeholders to find solutions. However, we must also recognize that failing to address homelessness, or pursuing ineffective policies to address it are expensive options. The human and social costs are of course enormous. But we should also focus on the economic costs, which many underestimate. These costs are not limited to providing shelters and hostel accommodation. Many homeless people, especially the chronic homeless, are in regular contact with expensive public services such as the police and prison services, public healthcare, child protection services and others. Family homelessness, for instance, can have a devastating impact on the economic potential of children whose education is disrupted by the loss of the family home. We understand that the real world of public policy decision-making is driven by questions of cost effectiveness as well as human rights.