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Study Suggests Housing Homeless Could Lower Healthcare Costs

OPB | April 11, 2014 3:24 p.m. | Updated: April 14, 2014 7:23 a.m. | Portland

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When homeless people are housed, the cost of their health care drops by 55 percent.

That’s according to a new study by Providence Health.

The cost of health care for formerly homeless people at Bud Clark Commons, dropped 55 percent after they got a roof over their head.

The cost of health care for formerly homeless people at Bud Clark Commons, dropped 55 percent after they got a roof over their head.

Kristian Foden-Vencil OPB News

The study looked at about 100 residents at the Bud Clark Commons in downtown Portland.  That’s an apartment complex serving people who’ve been homeless and who have complicated health problems.

In the year before the residents moved in, their average healthcare costs were about $2,000 a month — or more than four times higher than the average Medicaid recipient’s.

In the year after they moved in, the costs dropped to about $900 a month.

Sandra Clark with Health Share of Oregon says the study suggests the government can save on everything from jails to police to health care by housing homeless people.

“It’s just profound to me that even just counting Medicaid dollars, you can see the savings,” she said.

The study is small. But its results are welcome to supporters of the Affordable Care Act because it appears to show wrapping care around needy people could save rather than cost money.


Integrating Housing & Health: A Health-Focused Evaluation Of The Apartments At Bud Clark

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