There is a deep well of public concern and charity, but much of it is misspent while those with the deepest needs, physical and mental, are overshadowed by panhandlers and others who crowd the public view.
Most of the panhandlers I got to know are serious crack addicts and alcoholics and spend almost all their begging money on their addictions.
We've been counting them and governments have been scrambling to try to help them, but a recent university study has been looking at a new question about homeless people in B.C. - what each one costs taxpayers a year.
The answer is $55,000 per person, or an annual total of $644.3 million in health, corrections and social services spending for all the homeless in B.C.
But the conclusion of the 150-page report - written by five academics at Simon Fraser University, the University of B.C. and the University of Calgary - is that B.C. taxpayers could even save money if that cash was instead spent directly on supported social housing.
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