Meet Murray Barr. Murray lives in Reno, on the streets. He drinks, a lot. Sometimes he gets picked up by the police, sometimes several times a day, who take him to Saint Mary’s, where he is sobered up before he goes to jail. Sometimes he gets sick, and his hospital stays are numerous.
The dollar cost Murray imposes on society is huge, so huge that,
if you totted up all his hospital bills for the ten years that he had been on the streets—as well as substance-abuse-treatment costs, doctors’ fees, and other expenses—Murray Barr probably ran up a medical bill as large as anyone in the state of Nevada.
Read Malcom Gladwell’s “MILLION-DOLLAR MURRAY:
Why problems like homelessness may be easier to solve than to manage” in the current edition of the New Yorker for more on Murray’s tragic story and some provocative perspectives on homelessness.