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The impact of permanent supportive housing on homeless populations

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  • Corinth, Kevin

Abstract

Between 2007 and 2014 in the United States, national counts of the homeless population decreased as permanent supportive housing (PSH) for the homeless increased. Using a panel dataset from all communities across the country during this period, I investigate the effect of PSH on homeless population sizes. I first estimate the association between PSH beds and homeless counts, controlling for all time-invariant community-level factors, several time-varying community-level factors, and in some specifications, all time-varying state-level factors. One additional PSH bed is associated with between 0.04 and 0.12 fewer homeless people. Second, I estimate causal effects using federal funds allocated to communities for homeless assistance as instruments; funding decisions are based on information that precedes any current shocks to homeless populations. Adding one PSH bed reduces the homeless count by up to 0.10 people, and I can reject a reduction of more than 0.72 people at the 95% confidence level. Finally, I discuss several possible explanations for the relatively modest impact, including poor targeting, differential exit rates into private housing from PSH relative to homelessness, incentives for remaining homeless, errors in homeless counts, and migration in response to expanded PSH.

Suggested Citation

  • Corinth, Kevin, 2017. "The impact of permanent supportive housing on homeless populations," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 69-84.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhouse:v:35:y:2017:i:c:p:69-84
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhe.2017.01.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Early, Dirk W., 2004. "The determinants of homelessness and the targeting of housing assistance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 195-214, January.
    2. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael & Eugene Smolensky, 2001. "Homeless In America, Homeless In California," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 37-51, February.
    3. Tsemberis, S. & Gulcur, L. & Nakae, M., 2004. "Housing First, Consumer Choice, and Harm Reduction for Homeless Individuals with a Dual Diagnosis," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 94(4), pages 651-656.
    4. Shawn Moulton, 2013. "Does Increased Funding for Homeless Programs Reduce Chronic Homelessness?," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 79(3), pages 600-620, January.
    5. Honig, Marjorie & Filer, Randall K, 1993. "Causes of Intercity Variation in Homelessness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 248-255, March.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Wu, Ting, 2006. "Fewer subsidized exits and a recession: How New York City's family homeless shelter population became immense," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 99-125, June.
    9. Early, Dirk W. & Olsen, Edgar O., 1998. "Rent control and homelessness," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 797-816, November.
    10. Kevin C. Corinth, 2015. "Street homelessness: A disappearing act?," AEI Economic Perspectives, American Enterprise Institute, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Chiumenti, 2019. "The growing shortage of affordable housing for the extremely low income in Massachusetts," New England Public Policy Center Policy Reports 19-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    2. William N. Evans & David C. Philips & Krista J. Ruffini, 2019. "Reducing and Preventing Homelessness: A Review of the Evidence and Charting a Research Agenda," NBER Working Papers 26232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. William N. Evans & David C. Phillips & Krista Ruffini, 2021. "Policies To Reduce And Prevent Homelessness: What We Know And Gaps In The Research," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(3), pages 914-963, June.
    4. Corinth, Kevin & Lucas, David S., 2018. "When warm and cold don’t mix: The implications of climate for the determinants of homelessness," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 45-56.
    5. Nicholas Chiumenti, 2018. "The supply of permanent supportive housing in Massachusetts: comparing availability to the chronic homeless population," New England Public Policy Center Policy Reports 18-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. Kevin Corinth & Grace Finley, 2020. "The geography of unsheltered homelessness in the city: Evidence from “311” calls in New York," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 628-652, September.
    7. Saerim Kim & Andrew A Sullivan, 2021. "Complementary policies for multidimensional problems: Does the low-income housing tax credit complement homeless services in the USA?," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 58(5), pages 903-921, April.
    8. David C. Phillips, 0. "Measuring Housing Stability With Consumer Reference Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 0, pages 1-22.
    9. O'Flaherty, Brendan, 2019. "Homelessness research: A guide for economists (and friends)," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-25.
    10. David C. Phillips, 2020. "Measuring Housing Stability With Consumer Reference Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(4), pages 1323-1344, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Homelessness; Permanent supportive housing; Homeless shelters;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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