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Assessing the cost and efficacy (or lack thereof) of policies which criminalize homelessness
This year, HUD included a question asking Continuums of Care what steps they are taking to end and prevent criminalization of homelessness on its homeless services grant application for the first time, building on policy established in the 2012 Searching Out Solutions report from the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, and which was highlighted in the October 2015 Interagency Council Secretaries meeting. HUD should evaluate the answers provided to that question, pulling out best practices that can be shared, as well as diving deeper into case studies around the costs of criminalization, including, for example: the costs to homeless individuals (criminal records, court fines and fees, days spent in pre-trial detention because of inability to pay bail), impacts on local business (how much of a business’s tax dollars go to police/jail costs, which could be significantly lowered by providing Housing First/stopping criminalization), impacts on homeless youth (including criminalization of truancy/runaway statutes, but also being criminalized by more broadly applicable laws), impacts on veterans (especially in the context of the goal to end veterans homelessness in 2015), impacts on survivors of domestic violence, etc.

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