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Albuquerque Heading Home Saves Both Lives & Money

UNM’s study of the program, which houses Albuquerque’s most vulnerable, finds dramatic cost savings and quality of life improvements

September 23, 2013


ALBUQUERQUE- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry announced the findings of a University of New Mexico cost-benefit study on his homelessness initiative "Albuquerque Heading Home". The study researched the financial outcomes of the program, and the results were significant. Overall, the program has made a positive impression, with wide-spread impact not only on the lives of those being housed, but also for the taxpayers.

"Albuquerque Heading Home is truly an inspirational program. For all who have witnessed the amazing stories of our participants, it’s awesome to see—and the financial impact is just as remarkable," said Mayor Berry.

In the three years since its implementation, Albuquerque Heading Home (AHH) has achieved great levels of success, helping almost 250 of Albuquerque’s most vulnerable get off the streets and into homes. The results of the UNM cost study prove that the program is truly the smart way to do the right thing.

According to the UNM study, Albuquerque Heading Home has:

  • Decreased jail costs by 64.2%, a savings of over $18,000 per year
  • Decreased emergency room visits by 36.2%, a savings of over $27,000 per year
  • Decreased hospital inpatient costs by over 84%.
  • Saved a total of $615,920.49 per year housed— a total savings of 31.6%.

The program has a retention rate of 78%, with 14 individuals successfully exiting the program to live independently. In addition to housing, AHH provides case management and outreach services, to make it less likely for the housed individuals to end up back on the streets.

One of the many success stories within AHH was that of the 200th individual to be housed. In the 90 days leading up to being housed through Heading Home, the individual had 83 emergency calls for service, generating a cost to taxpayers of about $140,000— enough to pay his rent for 21 years.

The UNM’s Institute for Social Research conducted the study, utilizing a study group of 48 AHH participants. Researchers interviewed the individuals, examined their history, and gathered information maintained by various agencies including emergency rooms, medical providers, ambulance services, fire department services, jail bookings, and shelter participation.

While AHH has proven itself to be incredibly cost-effective, it ultimately is a massive humanitarian and philanthropic effort. The program started in February 2011 with the goal of housing 75 of Albuquerque’s most critical people struggling with homelessness, and that accomplishment was achieved well ahead of schedule. Since then, they have been effectively finding housing for individuals and their families. Now in the third year of operation, AHH has made headlines across the nation with the heart-warming transformation stories of individuals who have spent their majority of their lives out on the streets— now receiving their own bed in the safety of a place they can call "home".

For more information, to volunteer, or to donate to this program, please visit