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Study of Public Housing Authorities' Efforts to Serve People Experiencing Homelessness

Abt Associates (Lauren Dunton, Meghan Henry, Eliza Kean, Jill Khadduri)


February 2, 2014
The use of mainstream housing assistance programs will be 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 (HCVs) and the 1.1 million public housing units managed by public housing agencies (PHAs) across the country.

This study was commissioned by HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research to provide a status report on efforts by PHAs to serve homeless households with mainstream housing assistance resources. Data were collected from PHAs throughout 2012 and early 2013 using two approaches: a web-based survey of roughly 4,000 PHAs and follow-up telephone discussions with staff at 120 PHAs.

The study found that about a quarter (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. 
North America