The Cost of Homelessness Facts

emergency room

The vast majority of people struggling with homelessness lack health insurance, a public provision for health care or a primary care physician. Since hospital emergency departments are a community resource, by law, they must serve everybody regardless of their ability to pay. So the expense of assisting people struggling with homelessness when gaining access to health care falls on the Tex. S. Taxpayer. Nearly one-third of all visits to the emergency room are made by people struggling with chronic homelessness. They have a wide array of complex needs: chronic health conditions, multiple psychosocial risk factors, like mental illness and substance use disorders, and they do not have a social support system. Moreover, emergency departments are not equipped to meet the psychosocial needs of homeless community members and do not have the capacity to assist them with housing, substance abuse treatment, and mental health care.

How much does homelessness cost the taxpayer?

How does housing affect health?


"Frequent Users of Health Services Initiative," The Lewin Group: Karen W. Linkins, PhD; Jennifer J. Brya, MA, PhD; Daniel W. Chandler, PhD, August 2008.
"Learning about Homelessness & Health in your Community: A Data Resource Guide," Suzanne Zerger, MA Research Specialist, August 2005.