Public Services Utilization Cost Study

CHIP contracted with Dr. Eric Wright of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Center for Health Policy, IUPUI, to complete a cost study that would estimate public health care and criminal justice-related expenditures for serving homeless individuals who are “frequent users” of public services. Many of these individuals are also persons with significant mental health and/or substance use-related challenges. The study included 96 individuals over three years (1/03 – 1/06). The study concluded that Marion County and the City of Indianapolis expend $5,912 – $15,560 in the public health and criminal justice systems to respond to needs of the average homeless person with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues. The homeless census estimates approximately 500 individuals fit into this category annually in our community, suggesting an annual expenditure of between $3 -7.8 million to Marion County and the City of Indianapolis. These are only costs associated with public health and criminal justice related expenditures and do not include shelter and other emergency services.In 2009, the Public Services Utilization Cost Study was updated to reflect the health services and criminal justice costs using 2008 dollars and extrapolating based on July 2009 count results.  The updated report estimates that Marion County and the City of Indianapolis are spending between $3.7-11.1 million annually to respond to the needs of the average homeless person with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues.