Policy Brief from People’s Emergency Center (PEC) -June 2012
Pennsylvania’s state policy makers have reduced funding for strategies that address the needs of children who experience homelessness, resulting, in part, in increases in family homelessness. They should be cautious of the potential consequences of not supporting high quality, outcomes-based services that lead to ending homelessness for the families and improving child-well-being indicators like achieving academic success.
This report shows that the societal cost of childhood homelessness reaches well beyond the cost of providing housing. An examination of thirteen cost categories associated with child homelessness shows that the estimated annual marginal cost of child homelessness in Pennsylvania is $363,205,374.
This averages to an annual marginal cost of approximately $40,235 per child for the 9,027 children who slept at least one night in shelter in 2011. Compared to the average cost of a child who is not homeless, $6,419 – ending homelessness should be a desired societal outcome.
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