Life-Saving Program Saves Tax Dollars
ALBUQUERQUE- Homelessness is a tough social issue that plagues people in cities across the country, but in Albuquerque a recent study done by the University of New Mexico’s Social Research Institute revealed the city has a solution that isn’t just humane, it’s also saving money.
In winter 2011, being homeless in Albuquerque was not only difficult it was deadly. The city was entrenched in the freezing temperatures of a 100 year storm. In blizzard-like conditions, Mayor Richard J. Berry launched the Albuquerque Heading Home initiative with street outreach, done by hundreds of volunteers, to the City’s most medically vulnerable and most likely to pass away on the streets. After incubating the initiative he handed it over to nonprofit, Heading Home to implement the program and continue the work.
Today, five years later, the Albuquerque Heading Home initiative has housed 610 individuals and their family members, saved millions of taxpayer dollars and is helping to end homelessness.
During an event that showcased the human stories behind the program through film and photography, the Mayor, City Officials, volunteers, partner agencies, representatives from UNM and advocates joined together to hear the results of a cost study analyzing the Albuquerque Heading Home initiative. Highlights from the study showed that:
- Investing in Albuquerque Heading Home creates a 78% return
- The initiative has saved nearly $5 Million in taxpayer dollars
“Albuquerque Heading Home is truly an inspirational program. For all who have witnessed the amazing stories of our participants, it’s awesome to see,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. “This latest financial impact study further illustrates that addressing chronic homelessness in a smart way for both those experiencing homelessness and for the taxpayer.”
Heading Home Housing Director Jodie Jepson emphasized that critical partnerships and generous volunteers who have created this level of social change, “We’re so honored to have our valuable partners with us today, to celebrate the impact that we’re having on our community- we’re literally changing lives and bringing hope to people who thought they were lost, forgotten and invisible.”