Do Local Economic Conditions Affect Homelessness? Impact of Area Housing Market Factors, Unemployment, and Poverty on Community Homeless Rates

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Abstract

This article estimates the impact of local housing and labor market conditions on area homelessness using the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD’s) annual point-in-time counts of homelessness from 2007 to 2014. In cross-sectional models, the median rent, the share of households in rental housing, and the poverty rate have strong positive impacts on homelessness. Once area-fixed effects are included, only the median rent remains positive and significant. However, fixed-effect models find a positive relationship between poverty and homelessness in communities that maintain right-to-shelter policies, suggesting constraints in shelter bed supply may limit responses of homelessness to changes in economic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-655
Number of pages16
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 4 2017

Keywords

  • Homeless
  • income
  • labor market
  • low-income housing

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