Solving homelessness requires more evidence and less politics
Bill Evans, David Phillips, and Jim Sullivan, opinion contributors
The increasingly worrisome crisis of homelessness in our nation has focused media and policy attention on homelessness policy. Unfortunately, notably absent from these debates is evidence. For instance, some policymakers have been claiming that the dominant “housing first” approach is failing. This claim might be politically appealing for some, but it’s fundamentally incorrect.
In fact, permanent supportive housing — the primary housing first approach — is very effective at improving outcomes for the chronically homeless. Several randomized controlled trials — the highest standard of evidence in measuring program impact — show that the impact of the program can only be linked to the program itself, not to particular characteristics of the individuals and families served.
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