Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The use of mainstream housing assistance programs is essential if the nation is to achieve the goals of the 2010 Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, including ending chronic homelessness by 2015 and ending homelessness for families, youth and children by 2020. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has residential programs specifically targeted to people experiencing homelessness, but those resources are small by comparison with the 2.5 million Housing Choice Vouchers and the 1.1 million public housing units managed by public housing agencies (PHAs) across the country.
Abt Associates studied for HUD on PHAs efforts to serve homeless households with mainstream housing assistance resources. Abt used a web-based survey during 2012 and early 2013 to collect data from all of the roughly 4,000 PHAs, then conducted follow-up telephone discussions with staff at 120 PHAs.
The Abt study found that about a 24 percent of all PHAs were attempting to serve people experiencing homelessness by using their ability to prioritize some people over others on waiting lists for housing assistance and by removing barriers that make it difficult for homeless households to use housing assistance programs. Those PHAs had a strong general preference that put people experiencing homelessness at or near the top of the waiting list, or they had created limited preferences in public housing or voucher units for homeless households, or they had modified the application of eligibility screening or other program rules to remove barriers to homeless people accessing and using housing assistance. The study’s principal investigator for Abt was Jill Khadduri.
Read the study's findings.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.