Taxpayers spend more per year on the homeless than on children in public K-12 schools, according to a new study examining the economic footprint of the homeless in the metropolitan area.
Within the city of Denver, the spending range per homeless person is $ 41,679 per person to $ 104,201 per person, depending on the type of count used. In comparison, per pupil spending for K-12 education in Denver Public Schools is around $ 19,202.
The study of the Common sense institute showed an estimated homeless population last year of 4,171 in the city of Denver and 6,104 in the Denver metro region that includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties.
The study found that $ 481.2 million was spent annually on shelters, healthcare, and other services, but that doesn’t include the full range of charities, public agencies, or healthcare and emergency response systems dedicated to serving the homeless population of 4-6,000.
Just as extraordinary is the number of employees and volunteers dedicated to helping the homeless.
In the Denver metropolitan area, there are between 4,000 and 7,000 employees of government agencies and organizations, while the number of volunteers ranges from 55,000 to 85,000.
And yet there are only 2,200 transitional housing beds, of which 72% were occupied.
Emergency shelter beds total 3,561 and had an occupancy rate of 88%.
“The Denver metro region is investing a significant amount of funds, nearly $ 500 million annually, to prevent and address homelessness,” the report says.
“As the number of homeless people continues to rise and communities recover from COVID-19, now is a critical time to assess the ecosystem,” the report said.
The study was the first of several to be published soon from the Common Sense Institute.
It is also interesting to note in this study of the economic footprint of the homeless, the number of jobs that are supports for the homeless in just one metropolitan area, and that it invests 500 million dollars a year in the local economy without really solving the problem of housing 4 -6,000 people.
With that amount of money, a person could afford to pay the rent.