Jacksonville-based nonprofit uses study to show benefits of permanent housing for homeless

More than 400 people make up Jacksonville's homeless population.
A Jacksonville-based nonprofit is now gearing up to work with city leaders on a project that could help get our homeless community members off the street.
It's based on a study called "The Solution That Saves".
Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole breaks down what it revealed and how city leaders are planning to use the data to combat homelessness.
"I can't think of anything more stressful than not knowing where you're going to sleep tonight,” said Shannon Nazworth.
It's a daily concern for the nearly 450 chronically homeless in Jacksonville.
But Nazworth, the President & CEO of Ability Housing, told Action News Jax resources aren't the only barrier.
"I think the biggest barrier is people's misconception on what to do to make sure people aren't homeless any longer.”
Nazworth said people often try to fix the problems a homeless person may be dealing with.
"The research shows and the report shows, that's actually backwards,” Nazworth told Cole.
Ability Housing recently studied the benefits of Permanent Supportive Housing for the homeless.
The nonprofit observed more than 90 participants for two years before and after providing them with housing.
Their study showed the following, but isn’t limited to:
  • A $244 increase in participants' income
  • A 43% decrease in emergency room costs
  • A 76% drop in costs for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Nazworth said the next step is getting support from local leaders.
Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to City Council President Aaron Bowman. He said it comes down to dollars and cents.
“The affordable housing piece is obviously very expensive. That's going to be a long term thing of how do we do it, who do we get involved, are there grants? Are there things working in other cities?” said Bowman.
Bowman said he's already in talks about homelessness and affordable housing for next year's budget.
The City Council President told Action News Jax he's planning to open an urban rest stop next month at the Sulzbacher Center.
It will give homeless neighbors the opportunity to do laundry, get a meal and give them access to resources for jobs and permanent housing.