 HomeBase is a community based, family  homelessness prevention program  operated by NYC Department of  Homeless Services...
 HB case managers have wide discretion in  matching services to the specific problems  of eligible families. HB services...
 Families with children or adult couples Families with incomes below a threshold Must be experiencing treatable  emerge...
 How many family shelter entries were  averted per case opened during HB  operations between its start in November  2004 ...
 Did HB operations shift shelter entries  from communities in which HB was  operating to those in which it wasn’t? Did H...
 Anonymous listing of families entering NYC  shelter system between January 2003 and  November 2008 and a separate listin...
1.   Conducted parallel analyses for two levels     of community: 1,897 Census Tracts and 59     Community Districts.2.   ...
 Capacity Model: Indicator variables that  turn on at month of official start of HB  operations in each CD, informal star...
 Monthly and community fixed effects Up to 18 months of lags for number of  housing units starting foreclosure process ...
Shelter     New HB                              Entries     Cases2003                              6,459       -----2004  ...
Trends in Family Entries into the NYC Shelter System                                                  2003-2008800600400  ...
During the period from November 2004  through November 2008: HomeBase reduced shelter population. By between 10 and 20 f...
504030                                    25.1                  26.120         19.2         20.8                          ...
 Diminishing returns: more families served  in a CD-month implies fewer entries  averted per family served. Could be sel...
 HB doesn’t affect length of stay. So reductions in entries mean reductions  in shelter population.
 If HB were musical chairs, CT estimates  would be bigger than CD estimates. CT estimates are not bigger than CD  estima...
 Theoretically, postponement works in both  directions. Some families whom HB serves in a month  would have entered that...
   We didn’t follow individual families.    › So we don’t know who would have      entered n the absence of HB.    › We d...
Average Cost per HB Case=$2,000Average Cost per Shelter Entry=$30,000Each Ten HB cases opened at a cost of  $20,000 saved ...
 It worked. There is still much to be learned about  why or how it worked. As far as we know, this is the only  rigorou...
We are grateful for the assistance of the following individuals  Jay Bainbridge, Joanna Weissman, Eileen Lynch, Sara  Zuid...
Direct correspondence to Peter Messeri at  pam9@columbia.edu
3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?
3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?
3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?
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3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?

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3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?

Speaker: Peter Messeri

Building effective homeless assistance systems requires an understanding of the characteristics of families and the effectiveness of interventions that prevent and quickly end homelessness. This workshop will provide the newest findings from the field that can be used to inform decisions and interventions that affect homelessness in your community.

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3.5 What’s New in Family Homelessness Research?

  1. 1.  HomeBase is a community based, family homelessness prevention program operated by NYC Department of Homeless Services since 2004. Helps families overcome immediate problems and obstacles that threaten loss of homelessness. Families apply at one of 13 HB offices located in their neighborhood.
  2. 2.  HB case managers have wide discretion in matching services to the specific problems of eligible families. HB services include family and landlord mediation, legal assistance, short term financial assistance, mental health and substance abuse services, child care and job search assistance. During study period, average HB case was active for six months. There were very few repeat clients.
  3. 3.  Families with children or adult couples Families with incomes below a threshold Must be experiencing treatable emergency Some residence requirements Single adults are also eligible for HB, but our evaluation is restricted to family shelter entries.
  4. 4.  How many family shelter entries were averted per case opened during HB operations between its start in November 2004 through November 2008? Did HB effects depend on the density of families entering the shelter? Did HB performance depend on the volume of cases opened?
  5. 5.  Did HB operations shift shelter entries from communities in which HB was operating to those in which it wasn’t? Did HB affect the average length of stay among families entering shelters?
  6. 6.  Anonymous listing of families entering NYC shelter system between January 2003 and November 2008 and a separate listing of HB cases opened between November 2004 and November 2008. Identifying information › Census tract and community district of residence › Month of shelter entry/HB case opened Other useful information › Formal start of HB operations in each CD › Length of shelter stay › Monthly count of housing units in buildings in which foreclosure proceedings were initiated › Distance between each community district and closest HB center
  7. 7. 1. Conducted parallel analyses for two levels of community: 1,897 Census Tracts and 59 Community Districts.2. Outcome was count of shelter entries by month and community of residence.3. Difference-in-differences approach.4. Specified capacity and service models5. Estimated HB effects for various versions of each model.6. Converted HB effects into shelter entries averted per 100 HB cases opened.
  8. 8.  Capacity Model: Indicator variables that turn on at month of official start of HB operations in each CD, informal start month, and at second month post official start. Service Model: Monthly count of HB cases opened by community of residence plus instruments: Distance from HB Center, period of official HB services, fiscal year of operations.
  9. 9.  Monthly and community fixed effects Up to 18 months of lags for number of housing units starting foreclosure process For capacity model estimated linear and loglinear/Poisson models For capacity model stratified HB effects by high and low shelter use CDs, high/moderate/low shelter use CTs Other models estimated for sensitivity and robustness of findings.
  10. 10. Shelter New HB Entries Cases2003 6,459 -----2004 6,726 1942005 5,951 2,4402006 8,116 3,0422007 8,190 2,1112008** 9,646 3,191Total 45,088 10,978CD Monthly Average 10.8 3.8CT Monthly Average .33 .12*Two Months **Eleven Months
  11. 11. Trends in Family Entries into the NYC Shelter System 2003-2008800600400 2003m1 2004m1 2005m1 2006m1 2007m1 2008m1 Year and Month Monthly Family Entries Smoothed Trends In Monthly Entries Vertical Lines mark the phased start of offical HB operations
  12. 12. During the period from November 2004 through November 2008: HomeBase reduced shelter population. By between 10 and 20 families per 100 HB cases.
  13. 13. 504030 25.1 26.120 19.2 20.8 11.8 12100 Cap.: Lin. Cap.: Cap.: Log Cap.: Service: Service: Strat. CD Lin.Strat. Linear CD Poission CT Quadratic Linear CT CT CD
  14. 14.  Diminishing returns: more families served in a CD-month implies fewer entries averted per family served. Could be selection. Could be congestion. We can’t distinguish between selection and congestion.
  15. 15.  HB doesn’t affect length of stay. So reductions in entries mean reductions in shelter population.
  16. 16.  If HB were musical chairs, CT estimates would be bigger than CD estimates. CT estimates are not bigger than CD estimates. If HB were musical chairs, then grouping CDs together into super-CDs would make the estimates go down. That doesn’t happen either.
  17. 17.  Theoretically, postponement works in both directions. Some families whom HB serves in a month would have entered that month but enter later instead. Implies our simple estimate too high. Some families would have entered in a later month absent HB, but don’t. Implies our simple estimate too low. We look for net postponement with lags and residuals, and don’t find any.
  18. 18.  We didn’t follow individual families. › So we don’t know who would have entered n the absence of HB. › We don’t even know whether these families were the ones HB saw. We didn’t learn about HB operations. › So we don’t know which HB activities work and which don’t.
  19. 19. Average Cost per HB Case=$2,000Average Cost per Shelter Entry=$30,000Each Ten HB cases opened at a cost of $20,000 saved between $30,000 and $60,000 in shelter entries averted.
  20. 20.  It worked. There is still much to be learned about why or how it worked. As far as we know, this is the only rigorous study of a sizeable homelessness prevention program.
  21. 21. We are grateful for the assistance of the following individuals Jay Bainbridge, Joanna Weissman, Eileen Lynch, Sara Zuiderveen, Jonathan Kwon, Veronica Neville, and Ellen Howard-Cooper. Scott Auwater, Ingrid Ellen, John Mollenkopf, Ellen Munley, Maiko Yomogida, Abhishek Josju, Carol Caton, Mireille Valbrun and Shoshana Vaheetz Funding Support New York Department of Homeless Services NIMH 5 P30MH071430-03 NICHD 1R24HD058486-01A1
  22. 22. Direct correspondence to Peter Messeri at pam9@columbia.edu

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