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03 May 2021
30 July 2021
Keeping Americans Housed: Research on the Role of Prevention, Diversion, and the Crisis Response
This is a special issue on housing stability with a focus on homelessness prevention and crisis response.
The absence of a strong housing safety net leaves millions of Americans vulnerable to losing their housing. This risk, and the resulting high prevalence of homelessness, has been something policymakers have lived with during the past few decades, but as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds in the US, the urgency of this challenge has increased significantly, as many Americans are already facing eviction and some will end up homeless. A rise in evictions and homelessness will result in immense human suffering and has serious implications for public health and containment of the virus. As new resources in the form of $25 billion in COVID-19 relief emergency rental assistance and shifts in the crisis response result from a shift away from congregate shelters as a result of COVID-19, there are also opportunities to overcome housing inequities that disproportionately affect people of color and historically marginalized populations.
Until there is housing assistance to provide help to all those who need it, practitioners will struggle with methods to identify who is at highest risk for eviction and homelessness and how to make decisions about targeting limited resources as well as how to provide safety and shelter to people who do become homeless and to help them exit quickly. Addressing this crisis will require research on understanding the scope of the problem. How do we predict who among the vulnerable will lose their housing? How many will face eviction and what subset will experience doubling up and homelessness and what are the paths to these outcomes? As well as understand solutions - What works in helping people maintain their housing? For those at imminent risk, what are approaches to eviction and homelessness preventions? how can we safely divert them from the courts or homeless shelter? For those who have lost their housing, how can we provide safe shelter and help people reconnect with housed situations quickly?
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We invite abstracts that address:
- Targeting strategies to identify those at highest risk for eviction and homelessness, including the use of screening tools and targeting based on geography
- Methods to predict eviction and homelessness focused on landlords or public housing authorities
- Understanding pathways after a household loses their housing, including strategies to provide safe shelter and help households resolve their homelessness crisis quickly
- Best practices and promising models to prevent eviction and homelessness
- Prevention approaches for specific subpopulations (e.g., LGBTQ, youth, families, single adults)
- Outcomes and impact evaluations on homelessness diversion and prevention programs and eviction programs embedded in the court system to help improve outcomes
- Best practices and promising models for crisis responses and shelter for people experiencing homelessness
- Understanding disparities in eviction and homelessness outcomes by race and efforts to bring a racial equity lens to eviction and homelessness prevention
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