At CaringWorks we believe that when housing is regarded as a right and not a privilege, and the stigmas of addiction and mental illness are removed, our communities can thrive. Our programs are focused on populations that are often regarded as the most challenging to serve. Our R.I.S.E. (Resiliency. Independence. Self-Reliance. Empowerment) Program serves 92 chronically homeless individuals in the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) defines chronically homeless as unaccompanied homeless individuals with disabilities who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years. At R.I.S.E. we provide these homeless individuals with their own place to live and the tools they need to succeed independently.
The combination of housing and supportive services is known as Supportive Housing and it is a very cost-effective strategy for alleviating homelessness and the attendant issues of substance abuse, mental illness, and criminality. According to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan “between shelters and emergency rooms and jails, it costs about $40,000 a year for a homeless person to be on the streets.” [PolitiFact article] By contrast, average costs per client at CaringWorks is less than $12,000 per year or $32 per day.
Therefore, it is a false notion that providing homeless with an affordable housing is more costly than leaving them without help on the streets. In fact, the Supportive Housing approach and programs like R.I.S.E. provide a cost effective solution and certainly transform lives of our fellow citizens by giving them access to become self sufficient.