Housing Street People Better, Cheaper

New York Times | January 13, 1989

Shelter number 1 offers hundreds of beds on the noisy, open floor of an armory. Privacy is impossible and there are too few security guards to assure personal safety. The most fragile homeless street people, the mentally ill, shrink from such a place.

At shelter number 2, each resident has a single room. The atmosphere is relaxed and homelike. Even the fearful are willing to stay. Which shelter costs more? The astonishing answer is number 1. After start-up costs, each bed in the congregate shelters operated by New York City costs taxpayers $30 a night, twice the $15 operating cost of a private room in a shelter run by the nonprofit Committee for the Heights Inwood Homeless…

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