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The Canadian mayor who ended homelessness

Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston calculated that it’s cheaper for the city to house the homeless than pay for ambulances and jail time. (David Dodge, Green Energy Futures/flickr/cc)

Meet Ted Clugston, the mayor who ended homelessness. Clugston is the mayor of Medicine Hat, a city of 61,000 located in the Canadian province of Alberta. He tells The Globe and Mail’s Allan Maki that it’s cheaper for the small city to house the homeless than leave them on the streets.

“If you look at the cost of [a homeless person] being picked up by an ambulance, staying in the hospital overnight, the justice system being involved,” he tells the newspaper, “it actually makes financial sense to give them a home.”

Ironically, Clugston once opposed the Housing First initiative he now supports. At the time, he didn’t think it was possible to end homelessness, the mayor says.

Medince Hat has housed 891 people over the last four-and-a-half years, the article says. Residents pay 30 percent of their incomes toward rent. While Clugston has received international attention, he credits other municipal officials for the city’s success on this issue.

The Globe and Mail

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