Volunteers with the 100 Homes campaign in Arlington survey a homeless individual, to assess him for potential placement in free housing.
Volunteers and county workers identified and surveyed 153 homeless individuals in the Arlington County over the course of a week. They found that nearly 30 percent of those surveyed showed tri-morbidity, a term for homeless individuals with a combination of mental health problems, a serious medical condition and substance abuse issues.
Kathy Sibert, Director of Arlington's Street People Assistance Network says the most vulnerable people identified this week should have homes soon: "We're working on that right now and we're really hoping to have someone housed by the end of this month."
The 100 Homes campaign, which is also part of a national 100,000 Homes project, will cost the county millions of dollars over the next couple of years, but board member Barbara Favola says countless studies have shown that providing housing is cheaper than letting the needy fend for themselves.
"It costs a community on average about $40,000 a year to house a homeless individual versus $140,000 a year to repeatedly give them services and allow them to remain on the street."
Hospital visits account for much of the cost of letting the homeless remain without shelter. Those in the survey reported a total of more than 300 hospital visits in the past three months alone. Over the course of one year that adds up to $3.2 million of care at an Arlington County hospital.