Utah’s approach to chronic homelessness has almost eradicated the problem in the state. Inspired Life The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions Resize Text Print Article Comments Book mark article Read later list Saved to Reading List By Terrence McCoy April 17, 2015 A man in a wheelchair makes his way to the homeless shelter in Salt Lake City as a major storm blows into Utah. (Tom Smart/Associated Press) The story of how Utah solved chronic homelessness begins in 2003, inside a cavernous Las Vegas banquet hall populated by droves of suits. The problem at hand was seemingly intractable. The number of chronic homeless had surged since the early 1970s. And related costs were soaring. A University of Pennsylvania study had just showed New York City was dropping a staggering $40,500 in annual costs on every homeless person with mental problems, who account for many of the chronically homeless. So that day, as officials spit-balled ideas, a social researcher named Sam Tsemberis stood to deliver what he framed as a surprisingly simple, cost-effective method of ending chronic homelessness.
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