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.
Nationally, homelessness has been on the decline for years, dropping by 12.9 percent from 2009 to 2016 and by 2.6 percent from last year to this year, according to the report released Wednesday. A more detailed survey of 32 cities shows similar trends. Meanwhile, the need for emergency food aid went up 2 percent in those 32 cities from 2015 to this year – slower than the 6 percent increase from 2014 to 2015, but still worrying to city officials who have had to reduce both the quantity of food offered to needy families and individuals as well as the number of visits hungry people are allowed to make to food pantries. In nearly half of the cities studied, people were turned away because of a lack of available food, the report said.
Crisis, the UK national charity for homeless people, today launched the Venture Studio which will invest in, support, and create ventures to end homelessness. The aim is to bring together their expertise with the talent, technology, and agility of startups to end homelessness for good. The launch blog states that alongside forward-thinking policies we need innovative new solutions to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and to tackle its consequences. The Venture Studio will provide access to subject expertise, a test bed with experts-by-experience, funding, and a range of technical, business, and product support to accelerate businesses that are driven to end homelessness. The Venture Studio are looking for partners in industry to share technical expertise and resources to help scale ventures.