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LISTEN: Study Finds Housing Homeless Saves Money

Courtesy of Heading Home
James Coleman

In 2011, the city of Albuquerque launched its Heading Home initiative. It was a shift in tackling homelessness because it focuses on getting people in housing first, and then provides services to help them become more stable. The program has targeted the most vulnerable people experiencing chronic homelessness who have health issues, including behavioral health challenges. Since its launch it has housed more than 600 people.

The University of New Mexico Institute for Social Research did an in-depth analysis of the program recently and found for every dollar spent the city reaped $1.78 in benefits. Cities around the country are turning to the housing first model and this study breaks new ground because it explored a wide range of impacts from the policy.

Our guests are Paul Guerin who led the study for UNM, as well as Dennis Plummer, executive director of Heading Home, and James Coleman, who has been off the streets and in stable housing for four years thanks to Heading Home.

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.