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Science. 2016 Aug 12;353(6300):694-9. doi: 10.1126/science.aag0833. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

The impact of homelessness prevention programs on homelessness.

Author information

1
Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.
2
Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA. Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.
3
Department of Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Despite the prevalence of temporary financial assistance programs for those facing imminent homelessness, there is little evidence of their impact. Using data from Chicago from 2010 to 2012 (n = 4448), we demonstrate that the volatile nature of funding availability leads to good-as-random variation in the allocation of resources to individuals seeking assistance. To estimate impacts, we compare families that call when funds are available with those who call when they are not. We find that those calling when funding is available are 76% less likely to enter a homeless shelter. The per-person cost of averting homelessness through financial assistance is estimated as $10,300 and would be much less with better targeting of benefits to lower-income callers. The estimated benefits, not including many health benefits, exceed $20,000.

PMID:
27516600
DOI:
10.1126/science.aag0833
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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