The Price of Virtue
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The Price of Virtue

The Economic Value of the Charitable Sector

Vivien Foster, Susana Mourato, David Pearce and Ece Özdemiroglu

The authors of this pioneering book attempt to address this problem by utilizing survey techniques, originally developed in environmental economics, to place an economic value on the benefits provided by the voluntary sector in the UK.
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Chapter 3: The Benefits of Charities to Users: The Homeless

Vivien Foster, Susana Mourato, David Pearce and Ece Özdemiroglu


3. The benefits of charities to users: the homeless 3.1 INTRODUCTION According to the broad definition of homelessness, a homeless person is anyone living in precarious, insecure or short-term accommodation, that is, in hostels, hotels, bed and breakfast (B&B), squatting, sleeping rough and hidden homelessness (those who sleep around friends and family). Although accurate statistical information is difficult to obtain, it is estimated that there were around 140 000 single homeless people in the UK in 1994 (personal communication, Shelter, 1997). Of those, around 270 were sleeping rough every night. Hostels are a necessary first step in the resettlement process of most homeless people. In London alone, there are about 26 000 hostel bed spaces in over 600 buildings (Resource Information Service, 1996). A common view of hostels is that they are large buildings, offering poor accommodation in dormitories, with regimes dominated by strict rules and regulations. However, while there are still some hostels that conform to this Victorian image, typically the reality is quite different. Today nearly 20 different types of hostels exist (Resource Information Service, 1996). The term ‘housing project’ is increasingly being used to describe many of the more recently established schemes run by the charitable sector. Apart from accommodation and food, hostels or housing projects also offer a range of support and counselling services that are needed by a large proportion of homeless people for problems related to drink, mental health, drugs or physical health, among others. This chapter summarizes a study...

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