Housing first 2nd annotation

Carrier, Scott. “The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-effective Way to End Homelessness.” Mother Jones. N.p., Mar. 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.


Scott Carrier’s article, “Room for Improvement” focuses on the personal side, as well as the economic side of the argument for housing first programs as a way to end chronic homelessness. The piece blends anecdotal stories of individual success stories in the program with hard economic data as a way to advocate for the program’s effectiveness. In dealing with the policy question of how to combat homelessness, one must take into account the root problem for what put the individual on the streets in the first place. Carrier points out through the success stories of individuals that supportive housing is a way to make the existing programs for addiction and mental health more effective. Carrier argues that, “The old model was well intentioned but misinformed. You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around.” Most importantly from the piece, Carrier maps out how much someone who is considered to be chronically  homeless if left out of a supportive housing program. Carrier states that the average emergency room cost alone for someone who is chronically homeless is $40,449 a year. By stating the cost benefit of housing first, Carrier is able to argue that an implementation of supportive housing programs would not only be a virtuous program, but also an economically viable one.

In the graph above the first thing that caught my eye initially was the fact that there were seemingly two graphs I was meant to look at in one, my eyes were briefly fixed in the middle trying to decide which graph was meant to be the main focus. First idea was that on the left side there are bars that are significantly larger than their counterparts. The juxtaposition between the bar sizes was an immediate eye catcher. I felt as if the stark difference in size was beneficial to the overall point of the graph that pre entry costs were significantly greater than costs after program entry. The color palate for both graphs, while aesthetically pleasing, blended together poorly in terms of ability to differentiate between the bars. The use of white as a color for the graph was misguided due to its similarity to the background color. First I would make all the white bars a much darker color so it will not blend with the background. Secondly I would make the labels for the graph on the right larger, making them easier to see. Third of all I would consider changing the titles of the two graphs in order to make them more objective than if they were to stand alone. The way the titles are right now, they are making the point that the actual graph is supposed to represent not the title.



One response to “Housing first 2nd annotation

  1. Excellent job on the annotation, I also agree with most of your critiques of the graph as well. I also am not a fan of the fact that some of the bars in the graph are white, this makes it very hard to see the level the bars are indicating. I like how there is an individual breakdown of the costs on one side of the graph. In looking at your Berinato critique of the graph it looks as if it will be increasingly helpful to your topic on your paper.


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