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The role of subsidized housing in reducing homelessness: An empirical investigation using micro-data


  • Dirk W. Early

    (Department of Economics and Business, Southwestern University)


Additional funding for subsidized housing is one of the most commonly proposed solutions to the problem of homelessness. For example, the Interagency Council on the Homeless has called for a $2 billion increase in the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address the shortage of subsidized housing. However, research on the effect of subsidized housing in reducing homelessness is far from conclusive. This study combines data from the American Housing Survey (AHS) with a survey of the homeless to estimate the effectiveness of subsidized housing in reducing homelessness. The results indicate that subsidized housing has not targeted those most at risk of being homeless, and therefore a simple expansion of existing housing programs will have little effect on the number of homeless.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk W. Early, 1998. "The role of subsidized housing in reducing homelessness: An empirical investigation using micro-data," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(4), pages 687-696.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:17:y:1998:i:4:p:687-696 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6688(199823)17:4<687::AID-PAM5>3.0.CO;2-M

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Mayo, Stephen K., 1981. "Theory and estimation in the economics of housing demand," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-116, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Early, Dirk W. & Olsen, Edgar O., 1998. "Rent control and homelessness," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 797-816, November.
    2. Michela BRAGA & Lucia CORNO, 2009. "Being an homeless: evidence from Italy," Departmental Working Papers 2009-17, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    3. Edgar O. Olsen, 2003. "Housing Programs for Low-Income Households," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 365-442 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gundersen, Craig & Weinreb, Linda & Wehler, Cheryl & Hosmer, David, 2003. "Homelessness and food insecurity," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 250-272, September.
    5. Early, Dirk W., 2000. "Rent Control, Rental Housing Supply, and the Distribution of Tenant Benefits," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 185-204, September.
    6. Early, Dirk W., 1999. "A Microeconomic Analysis of Homelessness: An Empirical Investigation Using Choice-Based Sampling," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 312-327, December.
    7. O'Flaherty, Brendan, 2003. "Need and generosity: how markets for free goods equilibrate," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 157-172, July.
    8. Jackson, Osborne & Kawano, Laura, 2015. "Do increases in subsidized housing reduce the incidence of homelessness?: evidence from the low-income housing tax credit," Working Papers 15-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    9. O'Flaherty, Brendan, 2004. "Wrong person and wrong place: for homelessness, the conjunction is what matters," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, March.
    10. Olsen, Edgar O. & Zabel, Jeffrey E., 2015. "US Housing Policy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    11. Sinai, Todd & Waldfogel, Joel, 2005. "Do low-income housing subsidies increase the occupied housing stock?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2137-2164, December.
    12. 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.

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