UW School of Social Work E-news
April 2009  |  Return to issue home

UW Study Finds Housing Homeless Alcoholics Saves Money

A study led by Mary Larimer, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, and includes Michelle Garner (MSW '98, PhD '07), assistant professor, UW Tacoma, School of Social Work found, "A program that gives homeless alcoholics a place to live and drink is saving Seattle taxpayers more than $4 million a year on services," as reported in USA Today. The "Housing First" study, published in the April 1, 2009 Journal of the American Medical Association, "endorses putting homeless people in permanent homes with support services instead of requiring them to first stop drinking and taking drugs. The University of Washington study of 95 people found the average monthly cost on taxpayers per person was $4,832, including emergency services, before placement in supportive housing. Six months after moving into the housing, those costs dropped to $1,492," the newspaper reported.

Other media coverage of the Housing First study includes:

  1. Reuters: U.S. study backs shelter, drink for homeless alcoholics
  2. Forbes.com: Public housing for homeless alcoholics saves money
  3. Seattle PI: Study: Seattle home for alcoholics saved taxpayers $4 million
  4. National NPR: For Homeless, a Home May Be the Best Rehab
  5. Washington Times: Study: Seattle housing for alcoholics saves money

April 2009  |  Return to issue home