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Ensuring that veterans have stable housing not only reduces homelessness but also slashes the cost of providing them with publicly funded health care, according to a national study led by University of Utah Health scientists. The researchers found that veterans who received temporary financial assistance (TFA) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to acquire or retain housing had fewer hospital visits and an average reduction in health care costs of $2,800 over a two-year period than veterans who did not receive this benefit.
The researchers say this model could help non-profit organizations and other federal, state, and local governments better serve homeless Americans who are not veterans.
“Getting veterans experiencing homelessness into stable housing is desirable for a whole host of social, health, economic, and moral reasons,” says Richard E. Nelson, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and a research associate professor of internal medicine at U of U Health. “In this case, the overarching finding of our research is that providing veterans with temporary financial assistance helps them get into stable housing and reduces health care costs–particularly inpatient health care costs. This should be seen as a ‘win-win’ for the average person or taxpayer.”
The study appears in the May issue […]