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How to House the Homeless (Hardcover)

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"Homelessness is a transient condition for most of those afflicted, but is a continuing frustration for urban policy. This provocative volume engages public health scholars as well as planners, policy makers, and economists in linking interventions to outcomes. We are reminded again of the importance of risk, uncertainty, and savings incentives on economic outcomes---in this case, the transitions in and out of homelessness. Detailed studies of mental health treatments offered to vulnerable populations confirm their overall importance, but suggest that their effects on homelessness per se are small. Reviews of policies designed to address populations at greater risk of homelessness illustrate the tradeoff policy makers face between programs highly targeted to vulnerable populations and the moral hazard these programs encourage. How to House the Homeless offers concrete ideas to reduce the incidence of homelessness and to help in the design of more effective long-run policies."

John M. Quigley, I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor and professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley

"This is the most rigorous treatment I know of the problem of homelessness. The chapters have excellent empirical analysis leading naturally to policy implications. How to House the Homeless is particularly successful at characterizing the extent that homelessness is, per se, a housing problem."

Richard Green, director and chair of the Lusk Center for Real Estate and professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

"How to House the Homeless sharpens our thinking about how housing policy can end homelessness as we know it. Its top-flight interdisciplinary group of authors offers a fresh review of key programs and policies including Housing First, subsidized housing, and land-use regulations. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand fundamental debates in the field, challenging us to consider why assisted housing is the answer---and why it can never be the answer."

Sandra Newman, professor of policy studies, Johns Hopkins University

Homelessness is one of the most troubling and persistent social problems in the United States, yet experts can neither agree on its root causes nor on how to eradicate it. Is homelessness the result of individual life conditions, such as poverty, addiction, or mental illness, or is there simply not enough affordable housing? And which services are the most successful? In How to House the Homeless, editors Ingrid Gould Ellen and Brendan O'Flaherty propose that the answers entail rethinking how housing markets operate and developing more efficient interventions in existing service programs. The book critically reassesses where we are now, analyzes the most promising policies and programs going forward, and offers a new agenda for future research.

How to House the Homeless makes clear the inextricable link between homelessness and housing policy. Contributor Jill Khadduri reviews the current residential services system and housing subsidy programs. For the chronically homeless, she argues, a combination of assisted housing approaches can reach the greatest number of people and, specifically, an expanded Housing Choice Voucher system structured by location, income, and housing type can more efficiently reach people at risk of becoming homeless and reduce time spent homeless. Robert Rosenheck examines the options available to homeless people with mental health problems and reviews the cost-effectiveness of five service models: system integration, supported housing, clinical case management, benefits outreach, and supported employment. He finds that only programs that subsidize housing make a noticeable dent in homelessness, and that no one program shows significant benefits in multiple domains of life.

Contributor Sam Tsemberis assesses the development and cost-effectiveness of the Housing First program, which serves mentally ill homeless people in more than four hundred cities. He asserts that the program's high housing retention rate and general effectiveness make it a viable candidate for replication across the country. Steven Raphael makes the case for a strong link between homelessness and local housing market regulations---which affect housing affordability---and shows that the problem is more prevalent in markets with stricter zoning laws. Edgar Olsen proposes a way to reduce homelessness drastically and to make low-income housing assistance fairer at the same time; it involves making these programs entitlements but targeting them more tightly. Finally, Brendan O'Flaherty bridges the theoretical gap between the worlds of public health and housing research, evaluating the pros and cons of subsidized housing programs and the economics at work in the rental housing market and home ownership. Ultimately, he suggests, the most viable strategies will serve as safety nets---"social insurance"---to reach people who are homeless now and to prevent homelessness in the future.

It is crucial that the links between effective policy and the whole cycle of homelessness---life conditions, service systems, and housing markets---be made clear now. With a keen eye on the big picture of housing policy. How to House the Homeless shows what works and what doesn't in reducing the numbers of homeless and reaching those most at risk.

Jacket Photo: The Aurora is an affordable, supportive housing residence in New York City for seniors, persons with AIDS and low-income professionals from the performing arts. It is sponsored by The Actors Fund, a national human services organization helping everyone in entertainment and performing arts. © The Actors Fund. Reprinted with permission.


Publisher Russell Sage Foundation
Mfg Part# 9780871544544
SKU 213444478
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0871544547
Release Date 6/1/2010
Product Attributes
Book Format Hardcover
Number of Pages 0190
Publisher Russell Sage Foundation Publications
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