Tag: homeless

University of North Carolina Study Shows Housing The Homeless Saves Lives – And is Actually Cheaper Than Doing Nothing

n-SKID-ROW-LOS-ANGELES-HOMELESS-large570It’s cheaper to give homeless men and women a permanent place to live than to leave them on the streets.

That’s according to a study of an apartment complex for formerly homeless people in Charlotte, N.C., that found drastic savings on health care costs and incarceration.

Moore Place houses 85 chronically homeless adults, and was the subject of a study by the University of North Carolina Charlotte released on Monday. The study found that, in its first year, Moore Place tenants saved $1.8 million in health care costs, with 447 fewer emergency room visits (a 78 percent reduction) and 372 fewer days in the hospital (a 79 percent reduction).

The tenants also spent 84 percent fewer days in jail, with a 78 percent drop in arrests. The reduction is largely due to a decrease in crimes related to homelessness, such as trespassing, loitering, public urination, begging and public consumption of alcohol, according to Caroline Chambre, director the Urban Ministry Center’s HousingWorks, the main force behind Moore Place.

One tenant, Carl Caldwell, 62, said he used to go to the emergency room five to seven times a week, late at night, so he could spend the night there. “You wouldn’t believe my hospital bills,” Caldwell, who hasn’t had health insurance for years, told The Huffington Post. Caldwell was a teacher for 30 years and became homeless five years ago, when he lost his job and his roommate moved out.

While living on the street, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The disease was particularly challenging for Caldwell, who said he spent his days “trying not to get robbed or killed” and trying to find bathrooms and shelter from freezing weather. Since he moved into Moore Place when it opened in March 2012, Caldwell has gained a regular doctor and has undergone radiation. Now his cancer is in remission. Without having to worry about where he will sleep, he can take his medicine regularly and keep it in his mini fridge.

“Moore Place saved my life,” Caldwell said. “When you’re homeless, you are dependent on everybody. Now I am independent and can give back.” Caldwell said he regularly helps feed homeless people now and has reconnected with family members he hadn’t spoken to in years.

Chambre said she expects Moore Place tenants’ mental and physical health to continue to improve with consistent access to health care. “The idea of having a primary care doctor was just a fantasy when they were living on the street,” said Chambre. “Now they all have a regular doctor.”

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From Homeless to College Grad: Story of Joshua Williams Inspires

Bethune-Cookman University graduating senior Joshua Williams walks recently over the International Speedway bridge as he did when he was homeless and used to walk it all night long.
DAYTONA BEACH — As the lights went out and his fellow students settled into their dorms, Joshua Williams would store two duffel bags of belongings in a friend’s room and disappear into the darkness.

He would leave the secure surroundings of the Bethune-Cookman University campus and head across the International Speedway Boulevard bridge and walk, sometimes all night. In the early morning hours, he would sneak into the lobby at the Bronson Hall dorm and sleep a few hours on a couch as if he lived there.

“I would go down to the beach sometimes,” he recalled. “Sometimes I would just take any direction and get lost and try to find my way back — I would just walk.”

Williams, 23, who is graduated last Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, was homeless for most of his first three years at the school but too proud to tell anyone.

But just like on his nightly walks, he always found his way. He survived on handouts, slept in empty trucks or on a couch at the apartments of classmates who thought he just didn’t want to go home after a late-night study session.

Remembering the poverty, drug dealers and random shootings he’d seen growing up near Miami, he knew he was on the right path. At school, he would find family, a sense of purpose and even win the title of Mr. Bethune-Cookman University and become the first student to organize a scholarship — but first he had to find a place to sleep.

“Before the sun comes up, I would make sure I was somewhere to lay down,” Williams remembered. “I knew I was homeless, but I said to myself I’d rather be in Daytona homeless trying to go to school than ever go back to Miami.”

NO PLACE TO LIVE

Williams arrived at B-CU in the fall of 2008 with $3,000 he saved from working at a gas station in Miami. He knew it wasn’t enough but felt confident.  Then he found out tuition, room and board ran about $10,000 a semester.  Williams wasn’t about to let that stop him.

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Cleveland Student David Boone Worked Hard To Go From Homeless To Harvard

 david.jpgDavid Boone used to sleep on this bench in Artha Woods Park when he had nowhere else to go. Next fall, the senior at Cleveland’s MC2STEM High School is headed to Harvard.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — David Boone had a system.  There wasn’t much the then-15-year-old could do about the hookers or drug deals around him when he slept in Artha Woods Park. And the spectator’s bench at the park’s baseball diamond wasn’t much of a bed.

But the aspiring engineer, now 18 and headed to Harvard University in the fall, had no regular home. Though friends, relatives and school employees often put him up, there were nights when David had no place to go, other than the park off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

So he says he made the best of those nights on the wooden bench.

His book bag became his pillow, stuffed with textbooks first — for height, he says — and papers on top for padding.

In the morning, David would duck into his friend Eric’s house after Eric’s parents left early for work so he could shower and dress before heading to class at Cleveland’s specialized MC2STEM High School. David expects to graduate from there next month as salutatorian of the new school’s first graduating class.

“I’d do my homework in a rapid station, usually Tower City since they have heat, and I’d stay wherever I could find,” he said.

If you meet David Boone today, his gentle, confident demeanor and easygoing laugh betray no cockiness over racking up a college acceptance record that others brag about for him. He was accepted at 22 of the 23 schools he applied to — including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown and Penn.

He also gives no hint of the often harsh and nomadic life he has led. The medical problems he faced as a boy, a splintered family, being homeless — it all could have left him bitter and angry.

But David says that giving up would have left him stuck in a dead-end life, so it was never an option.

“I didn’t know what the results of not giving up were going to be, but it was better than nothing and having no advantages,” he said. “I wanted to be in a position to have options to do what I want to do.”

David was born to a young mother, who divorced his father when David was a little boy. Continue reading “Cleveland Student David Boone Worked Hard To Go From Homeless To Harvard”