Via Metro, a new report from Canada concludes that providing proper housing and care for those suffering from mental illness instead of dumping them in the streets to rot will actually save the province $211 million every year.

The paper – entitled “Housing and Support for Adults With Severe Addictions and/or Mental Illnesses in British Columbia” – says providing non-housing services for such people costs the public system more than $55,000 per year per person.

It says providing adequate housing and supports could reduce this cost to $37,000 per year.

Is anyone surprised that providing adequate health care and housing for people enables them to become less dependent on help than not providing them? Safety nets aren’t just the right thing to do for moral reasons, they end up being cheaper than working without a net. Otherwise you get situations like this:

The [above] study comes two months after a disturbing report by the Vancouver Police Department.

It said up to half the calls police get in some areas of the city are related to mentally ill people.

The police department report suggested officers were spending huge amounts of time dealing with severely mentally ill and drug-addicted people on the streets, when they weren’t specifically trained for that type of intervention.

I have often felt that the self-proclaimed “fiscal conservatives” are penny-wise and pound-foolish. It’s the sort of mindset that will pay a dole inspector $60,000 a year to cut questionable dole payments by $10,000 a year. I’m not suggesting that welfare fraud should be encouraged, but the mean-spirited aggressiveness that the (e.g.) UK government goes after it is all out of proportion to its actual cost.  And of course liberals and lefties can equally be foolish once they get their snouts to the trough, but in general we’re all better off when we look after each other instead of letting those who fall be trampled.