Real Cost of Homelessness
Homelessness Hurts Us
Homelessness doesn’t just hurt families. It also affects us, with social and economic costs to our community.
Increased Public Costs for Medical Care
- Hospital bills are $2,414 more for people who are homeless. This is because they stay in the hospital for four days longer on average, says a New England Journal of Medicine study.1
Children who are homeless are sick and go to the emergency room more
often than other children.2 They also are:
Twice as many ear infections.
Four times as many asthma attacks.
Five times more stomach problems.
Six times as many speech problems.
- Twice as many hospitalizations.3
- Twice as many ear infections.
Increased Public Costs for Education
Children who are homeless are more likely to have lower academic
achievement.4 They are:
Four times as likely to have developmental delays.
Twice as likely to have learning disabilities.
- Twice as likely to repeat a grade, most often due to frequent absences and moves to new schools.5
- Four times as likely to have developmental delays.
1 Salit S.A., Kuhn E.M., Hartz A.J., Vu J.M., Mosso A.L. Hospitalization costs associated with homelessness in New York City. New England Journal of Medicine 1998; 338: 1734-1740.
2 Weinreb, L., et al., “Determinants of health and service use patterns in homeless and low-income housed children,” Pediatrics 102(3) (1998): 554-62
3 National Center on Family Homelessness, Homeless Children: America’s New Outcasts. Newton, MA: 1999.
4 Buckner, J.C., Bassuk, E.L., Weinreb, L.F., and Brooks, M.G. (1999). “Homelessness and its relationship to the mental health and behavior of low income school age children” Developmental Psychology 35(1): 246-257
5 Garcia-Coll, C., et al., “The developmental status and adaptive behavior of homeless and low-income housed infants and toddlers,” Am. J. Public Health 88(9) (1998): 1371-4; Bassuk, E.L., et al., “Determinants of behavior in homeless and low-income housed preschool children,” Pediatrics 100(1) (1997): 92-100;National Center on Family Homelessness, Homeless Children: America’s New Outcasts. Newton, MA: 1999.