My colleagues and I at the Economic Roundtable in Los Angeles, along with the L.A. Co. Chief Executive Office, recently released a study titled, "Tools for Identifying High-Cost, High-Need Homeless Persons." This paper provides tools for identifying homeless individuals with acute needs, the highest public costs when homeless, and the greatest reduction in public costs when housed.
We developed two tools for combining multiple characteristics to identify high need individuals. The first is a look-up table that shows results from profiling groups within the study population based on seven characteristics and determining the proportion of each group that is in the tenth cost decile, as well as in the combined ninth and tenth deciles. The second is a calculating tool derived from statistical analysis that uses sixteen pieces of information to determine the probability that an individual is in the highest cost decile. You can access these Excel spreadsheet tool by clicking here.
There were some surprises that resulted from this study. I was most surprised by the range of variation in public costs for homeless individuals, with over half getting by with minimal subsistence-level help. Also surprising was the level and frequency of crises that engage the attention of hospitals and jails in the lives of the individuals with the highest public costs. Their lives are very precarious without housing and greatly stabilized with housing.
Our study also has seven major conclusions and recommended action steps. Please visit the Economic Roundtable website to download the full report as well as the tools we created.
Daniel Flaming is the President of the Economic Roundtable in Los Angeles.
Second photo by Ed Yourdon.