On any given night in Santa Clara County, Calif., more than 6,000 people are homeless. Annually, that’s costing the county more than $500 million. To Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, such a high cost should come with better results. The solution, he says, is obvious: “Devise a program that rapidly treats those folks and turns some from persistently homeless to consistently housed, and you cut down on the safety net they’re using.”

But that kind of prompt and comprehensive response is difficult for local government, in part because of the high upfront costs. Three years ago… (read full article)