Social Services (SS) costs. SS were determined by utilizing the social services costs for homeless people in an analog city (Clasen, 2006). This figure ($754) is the estimated cost for homeless and chronically homeless individuals and was corrected using the Nashville count for a total cost of $1,679,158 and a chronic homelessness total cost of $879,541.
Shelter services costs.With shelters in particular, per person cost data can vary according to the extent of services provided and unique individual usage data is not usually kept on the individual service level – with many organizations instead opting to keep track of total encounters. This makes it difficult to disaggregate shelter costs to derive a per-person cost by service provided within a shelter to make an estimate across all shelters as to the total cost of homeless shelter usage to Nashville. However, by targeting the largest shelters , the total cost figure should capture a good portion of the total shelter costs.
Thus, the total cost is a conservative estimate based heavily on the total expenditures of the most widely used and largest shelters with some smaller shelters included as well. The total cost of each shelter was obtained either through financial statements and/or through interviews with key personnel in the organization, and our lower bound total estimate from the shelters surveyed is $4,888,851. This includes worker salaries and operating costs in addition to the direct costs of food, shelter, clothing, etc. This low-bound total was then divided by the 2008 count, resulting in a per-person cost of $2,195.26. There was no significant difference in reported use of shelters between chronic homeless individuals and non chronic homeless individuals. The total shelter cost ($4,888,851) was then multiplied by the straight percentage of chronically homeless from the interview sample to determine a chronic homelessness shelter total of $2,542,202.56.