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Impact of a Homelessness Prevention Program in New York City

Abt Associates conducted the first-ever random assignment evaluation of a program designed to prevent family homelessness for the New York City Department of Homeless Services between 2010 and 2013. The Homebase Community Prevention Program is offered through a network of neighborhood-based homelessness prevention centers designed to help families avoid homelessness. These prevention centers are located in neighborhoods of high need throughout New York City and offer families case management, referrals to services, and limited financial assistance to families at risk of losing their housing. The study found that at-risk families who had access to homelessness prevention services from the Homebase program are spending less time in shelter, resulting in savings to taxpayers. The average amount of time families spent in shelter was reduced from 32.2 nights to 9.6 nights over two years as a result of Homebase, and the savings from this reduction in shelter use were greater than the cost of operating the Homebase program. The Abt project director for the study was Gretchen Locke.