Subsidized Housing, Emergency Shelters, and Homelessness: An Empirical Investigation Using Data from the 1990 Census
This paper uses data on the only systematic count of the homeless throughout the United States to estimate the effect on the rate of homelessness of a wide variety of potentially important determinants, including several major policy responses to homelessness that have not been included in previous studies. It improves upon estimates of the effect of previously studied determinants by using measures that correspond more closely to underlying theoretical constructs, especially by accounting for geographical price differences. It also conducts numerous sensitivity analyses and analyzes the consequences of the undercount of the homeless for point estimates and hypothesis tests. The paper's most important finding from a policy perspective is that targeting the current budget authority for housing assistance on the poorest eligible households will essentially eliminate homelessness among those who apply for assistance. Achieving this goal promptly without concentrating the poorest households in housing projects and without spending more money requires vouchering out project-based assistance. The primary methodological finding of the paper is that the 1990 Decennial Census did not produce sufficiently accurate counts, especially of the street homeless, to permit very precise estimates of the effects of many factors which surely affect the rate of homelessness. The main exception is the price of housing. Other things equal, higher housing prices lead to more homelessness.
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Volume (Year): 2 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Early, Dirk W. & Olsen, Edgar O., 1998. "Rent control and homelessness," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 797-816, November.
- Quigley, John M. & Raphael, Steven & Smolensky, Eugene, 2002.
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- Allgood, Sam & Moore, Myra L. & Warren, Ronald Jr., 1997. "The Duration of Sheltered Homelessness in a Small City," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 60-80, March.
- Cragg, Michael & O'Flaherty, Brendan, 1999. "Do Homeless Shelter Conditions Determine Shelter Population? The Case of the Dinkins Deluge," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 377-415, November.
- John M. Quigley, 1990. "Does rent control cause homelessness? taking the claim seriously," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 89-93.
- Edgar O. Olsen, 2000. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Methods of Delivering Housing Subsidies," Virginia Economics Online Papers 351, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
- Grimes, Paul W. & Chressanthis, George A., 1997. "Assessing the Effect of Rent Control on Homelessness," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 23-37, January.
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