Homelessness Prevention Call Center - Shelter

Project Type: Housing

Project Stage: Completed

This is the first study that examines the direct impact of financial assistance on homelessness.

Chicago residents at risk of becoming homeless may call 311 to request temporary financial assistance. Callers are routed to the Homelessness Prevention Call Center (HPCC), which screens callers for eligibility and connects eligible callers with local funding agencies. The HPCC takes approximately 75,000 calls each year. Funding for financial assistance varies unpredictably over time. Depending on the factors at work on a given day, some eligible callers receive temporary financial assistance, while others do not. In order to understand the impact of this assistance on outcomes such as entry into a homeless shelter at 3, 6, and 12 months and number of days spent at a homeless shelter within 6 months of a call, LEO accessed administrative data from the HPCC. LEO then “linked” this HPCC data to administrative data from 50948 on entries into and exits from shelters. The evaluation showed that temporary financial assistance reduced entry into a homeless shelter by 76 percent at 6 months, and the effect persisted a year after contacting the HPCC. 

It is very common for nonprofit and government agencies to provide financial assistance to prevent homelessness. This is the first study that examines the direct impact of financial assistance on homelessness.

  Full Article in Science
     Policy Brief  (118k)
     Infographic  (80k)
     NSF Award  (77k)

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Catholic Charities Chicago

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