Toward Understanding Homelessness: The 2007 National Symposium on Homelessness Research. Accountability, Cost-Effectiveness, and Program Performance: Progress Since 1998.. Studies of Interventions


Studies of the costs of homelessness do not assess directly the accountability or effectiveness of homeless assistance programs. They have been reviewed because they are a means of assessing whether other social welfare systems, policymakers, or society at large, should be accountable for the fact that homelessness can have potentially negative impacts (costs) to society if insufficiently addressed. To assess further the effectiveness of interventions designed to ameliorate homelessness, the federal government and others have funded research demonstration projects and other experimental and quasi-experimental studies. Rosenheck (2000) and Dickey (2000) published separate reviews of this literature, with an emphasis on the cost-effectiveness of programs. In both cases, the authors distinguish studies of outreach programs, case management and other service interventions, and specialized housing programs. Their reviews will be summarized here by these categories. Although most of the studies reviewed were published before 1998 (e.g., five of the eight studies reviewed by Rosenheck), so little has been published overall that they are included again here, along with the handful of studies published subsequent to these reviews. The growing interest in addressing chronic homelessness has also led to a spate of recent, but as yet unpublished efforts to assess the cost offsets of housing and other service programs; some preliminary results from these studies will be considered here as well.

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