The math is supposed to be simple.
Thirty-four of the most frequent homeless users of San Diego’s emergency services cost taxpayers and hospitals $4.3 million in responses to 911 calls and other public safety needs in 2010. Take those same people, put them in a house, give them preventative medical care and access to round-the-clock case workers, and the costs drop to $2.2 million in 2013.
That’s a savings to the public of more than $2 million last year.
This was the promise of Project 25, a much-heralded, three-year pilot program funded by the local chapter of the United Way to help some of the most chronic users of San Diego’s emergency services. The idea was that if you take these people off the streets, you can give them a better life and save a lot of money in the process.