What Are the Best Ways to Combat Homelessness in Georgia?

What Are the Best Ways to Combat Homelessness in Georgia?
Jason M. Rodriguez, Tessa A. Eidelman
Housing Policy Debate
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Though the federal government has allocated billions of dollars to homelessness intervention programs since the 1980s, few evaluations of the interventions have been conducted. In their new study, Jason Rodriguez and Tessa Eidelman examine the comparative effectiveness of rapid re-housing and transitional housing programs in Georgia. Using data collected from Georgia’s Homeless Management Information System, the authors analyzed returns to shelter within two years after exiting a shelter, rapid re-housing, and transitional housing for families with and without children. The authors employ propensity score matching to distinguish the effectiveness of the housing programs for similar families in reducing returns to homelessness and find that rapid re-housing and transitional housing programs were similarly useful in helping stabilize families. The authors offer policy recommendations based on their findings, including ways to cut costs and improve outcomes.

Key findings:

  • Households admitted by rapid re-housing appear more advantaged than households admitted by transitional housing, especially households with children.
  • Households targeted by both interventions tend to have more economic resources than other households experiencing homelessness in Georgia.
  • Rapid re-housing and transitional housing prevent shelter returns, especially for households without children. Both interventions improve housing stability.
  • The success of transitional housing, more so than rapid re-housing, appears to depend on the type and quality of services provided, so further work should examine transitional housing programs.