We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

How to House the Homeless

Ingrid Gould Ellen, Brendan O’Flaherty

Publication Year: 2010

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. 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.  

Published by: Russell Sage Foundation

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (35.7 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (31.4 KB)
pp. v-vi

About the Authors

pdf iconDownload PDF (28.0 KB)
pp. vii


pdf iconDownload PDF (21.8 KB)
pp. ix-x

read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.9 KB)
pp. 1-13

Eliminating homelessness or reducing its volume substantially will take certain changes in how housing markets operate. Homelessness, after all, is ultimately a housing market condition. People who leave homelessness have to live somewhere they weren’t living...

Part 1: Helping People Leave Homelessness

pdf iconDownload PDF (17.8 KB)
pp. 15-56

read more

2. Service Models and Mental Health Problems: Cost-Effectiveness and Policy Relevance

pdf iconDownload PDF (333.0 KB)
pp. 17-36

A recent analysis of data from the National Comorbidity Study Replication, a representative national epidemiological survey, found that 5 percent of U.S. adults reported a past episode of homelessness lasting a week or more. In comparison to other adults...

read more

3. Housing First: Ending Homelessness, Promoting Recovery, and Reducing Costs

pdf iconDownload PDF (156.6 KB)
pp. 37-56

Candice, a fifty-three-year-old native New Yorker, was homeless for more than fifteen years when she was referred to Pathways. She stayed on the streets but slept in a tent that she frequently pitched in an Upper West Side park. Other campsites included...

Part 2: Using Housing Policy to Prevent Homelessness

pdf iconDownload PDF (18.8 KB)
pp. 57-140

read more

4. Rental Subsidies: Reducing Homelessness

pdf iconDownload PDF (215.6 KB)
pp. 59-88

A growing literature on the relationship between housing markets and homelessness suggests that subsidies to make housing more affordable for poor individuals and families can play an important role in reducing homelessness in the United States. Several recent papers...

read more

5. Fundamental Housing Policy Reforms to End Homelessness

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.8 KB)
pp. 89-109

The failure to offer assistance to all who become homeless is a major defect of the current system of low-income housing assistance. Replacing this system with an equally costly entitlement housing voucher program would ensure that housing assistance is available...

read more

6. Housing Market Regulation and Homelessness

pdf iconDownload PDF (445.6 KB)
pp. 110-140

Local housing markets throughout the United States are subject to a host of regulations that tend to increase the cost of housing. Minimum lot-size requirements, quality standards, density restrictions, and other such municipally imposed regulation tend to limit the overall stock of...

Part 3: Managing Risk

pdf iconDownload PDF (18.8 KB)
pp. 141

read more

7. Homelessness as Bad Luck: Implications for Research and Policy

pdf iconDownload PDF (283.5 KB)
pp. 143-182

Sometimes bad things happen to people. They lose their jobs; companions walk out on them; their health—physical or mental—deteriorates; they get evicted; prices of goods they rely on rise; they lose their benefits. Sometimes they are blameless in these calamities; sometimes they are...


pdf iconDownload PDF (85.7 KB)
pp. 183-190

E-ISBN-13: 9781610447294
Print-ISBN-13: 9780871544544

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Homelessness -- United States.
  • Housing policy -- United States.
  • Housing -- United States.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access