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San Diego County – Project 25

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San Diego County is home to the fifth largest homeless population in the nation. Project 25, a pilot funded by United Way, was a three-year (2011‒2013) project designed to determine if direct coordinated services for the community’s most frequent homeless service users could significantly reduce the costs of homelessness. The project was a collaborative effort coordinated by the homelessness charity, St. Vincent de Paul Village, in partnership with Telecare Corporation and under contract with the County of San Diego.

Project 25 identified the core homeless individuals that were the most frequent users of public services, such as ambulances or emergency rooms. A total of 28 individuals (between the ages of 22-61) were analyzed as part of this project and provided intensive individualized support including permanent housing provided through the San Diego Housing Commission. Other services included healthcare (medical, dental and psychological), drug and alcohol treatment, and information on how to manage money. This intense support was an important component of the program—some participants were visited by practitioners 4-5 times per week at the beginning of the project.

After completion in 2013, Project 25 resulted in significant savings and reductions.

  • The 28 participants of the project used a total of approximately $3.5 million in expenses from all public services in the base year of 2010. In 2013, the expenses dropped to $1.1 million, resulting in a reduction of 67 percent in total costs.
  • The net return on dollars spent for Project 25 was a 207 percent in 2012 and 262 percent in 2013.

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