Panel Paper: Can Homelessness Be Prevented? Evidence From New York City's Homebase Program

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 3:30 PM
Baltimore Theatre (Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Peter Messeri, Brendan O'Flaherty and Sarena Goodman, Columbia University

In 2004, New York City established HomeBase in order to reduce the number of families entering its homeless shelters.  Families who think they are in danger of becoming homeless can go to HomeBase offices to receive a wide variety of assistance, both financial and not, to keep them out of shelters.  HomeBase started in different neighborhoods at different times.  We use this variation in start-up to estimate the effect of HomeBase on shelter entries and exits.  Our best estimates are that for every hundred families HomeBase enrolled, shelter entries fell by between 10 and 20.  HomeBase had no discernible effect on the length of shelter spells. We believe that this is the first quasi-experimental evaluation of a homelessness prevention program.

Full Paper: