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Costs Of Child Homelessness At Center Of Pa. Democrats’ Hearing, Today

(File photo.  Credit: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images)

(File photo. Credit: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee holds a hearing, today, on the hidden costs of child homelessness.

The hearing, called by state Representative Vanessa Brown, is scheduled to be held in West Philadelphia at the People’s Emergency Center, where vice president for policy, Joe Willard, co-authored a study about how much the state pays for health and social services that go to homeless children.

“We found that the annual marginal cost per child in Pennsylvania is approximately $37,168 a year.”

Multiply that by more than 9,000 homeless children — including 3,000 in Philadelphia — and the state is paying $352 million for kids that become homeless.

“Including 1,000 of those children will be sleeping in a shelter tonight. If there’s not a partnership trying to end their homelessness as quickly as possible, then all of society is going to end up paying a cost through more health care, more mental health services, more kids dropping out of high school and incurring other costs along the line.”

He says homeless prevention efforts would be less expensive.

“It has to be a partnership between the state, the local county, private provider and the federal government to really come together and address these issues on family homelessness.”

Today’s hearing will explore those options.

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