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The Impact of Federal Homelessness Funding on Homelessness

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  • David S. Lucas

Abstract

Federal spending on homelessness has increased significantly in recent years. I estimate the relationship between federal homelessness funding and homeless counts in 2011, 2013, and 2015 cross sections. I instrument for funding using a community's pre‐1940 housing share, a key variable in an originally unrelated funding formula borrowed for homelessness grants. Funding increases sheltered homelessness; meanwhile, funding is unrelated to unsheltered homelessness. Lower bound estimates suggest that the minimum cost of reducing unsheltered homelessness has increased over time, from $16,400 in 2011 to $20,800 in 2013 to $50,000 in 2015. In 2013, an additional $1 thousand dollars corresponds to a .309 higher homeless rate per 10,000 people. The effect is larger for families than individuals. Funding is positively related to chronic homelessness and is unrelated to youth and child homelessness. My results suggest limitations on federal funding's ability to reduce homelessness among some of the most marginalized groups in society.

Suggested Citation

  • David S. Lucas, 2017. "The Impact of Federal Homelessness Funding on Homelessness," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 84(2), pages 548-576, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:soecon:v:84:y:2017:i:2:p:548-576
    DOI: 10.1002/soej.12231
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    Cited by:

    1. Palmer, Caroline & Phillips, David C. & Sullivan, James X., 2019. "Does emergency financial assistance reduce crime?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 34-51.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. David C. Phillips, 0. "Measuring Housing Stability With Consumer Reference Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 0, pages 1-22.
    8. O'Flaherty, Brendan, 2019. "Homelessness research: A guide for economists (and friends)," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-25.
    9. 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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