The advantages of a national longitudinal study of homeless families include the ability to:
- Focus on data collection at the exit time point;
- Obtain data on patterns and pathways out of homelessness over time;
- Determine families who are diverted from shelter;
- Identify the characteristics and services used by families who leave shelter early; and
- Collect more extensive and potentially more valid data than existing administrative data sets.
The likely cost of such a study is greater than other study alternatives. There may be various strategies that could be used to limit costs, such as relying on HMIS data in all communities and including primary data collection in a subset of communities.