Deriving costs of service use among an urban homeless population

Brian S. Fuehrlein, Alexander J. Cowell, David E. Pollio, Lori Y. Cupps, Margaret E. Balfour, Carol S North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to describe a novel approach to calculating service use costs across multiple domains of service for homeless populations. A randomly-selected sample of homeless persons was interviewed in St. Louis, MO and followed for 2 years. Service- and cost-related data were collected from homeless individuals and from the agencies serving them. Detailed interviews of study participants and of agency personnel in specific domains of service (medical, psychiatric, substance abuse, homeless maintenance, and homeless amelioration services) were conducted using a standardized approach. Service utilization data were obtained from agency records. Standardized service-related costs were derived and aggregated across multiple domains from agency-reported data. Housing status was not found to be significantly associated with costs. Although labor intensive, this approach to cost estimation allows costs to be accurately compared across domains. These methods could potentially be applied to other populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Cost
  • Drug use disorders
  • Homeless
  • Longitudinal
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Service use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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