Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator

The fall 2022 call for Letters of Interest is now closed. Sign up for our mailing list to hear about future Evaluation Incubator opportunities and other resources about homelessness and housing stability.


J-PAL North America’s Homelessness and Housing Stability team seeks to expand the base of rigorous evidence on strategies to reduce and prevent homelessness. A key component of this work is our Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator, which offers service providers the opportunity to design a high-quality randomized evaluation of a program aiming to address homelessness or foster housing stability. 

Through the Incubator, selected partners may receive:

  • Up to one year of technical support from J-PAL North America’s staff policy and research experts

  • Flexible project development funding of up to $50,000 

  • Training on program evaluation, evidence use, and data, including a scholarship to J-PAL’s Evaluating Social Programs course in June

  • Connections with J-PAL’s network of leading academic researchers, which includes affiliated professors at universities around the world who use randomized evaluations to design, test, and improve programs and policies aimed at alleviating poverty

  • Relationship building with other leading organizations that are committed to using data and evidence. 

Selected partners who successfully match with a researcher from J-PAL’s network to design a high-quality randomized evaluation through the Incubator can subsequently apply for pilot funding (up to $50,000) or full evaluation funding through one of J-PAL North America’s Request for Proposals, typically in the range of $150,000-$250,000, to carry out the evaluation.

The Homelessness and Housing Stability team co-hosted an information session for prospective Incubator applicants on August 25, 2022. To learn more about the Incubator and how to apply, review the recording here

How the J-PAL North America Evaluation Incubator Works

Graphic displaying services offered and potential outcomes from partnering with J-PAL North America through the Evaluation Incubator.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a 3–5-page Letter of Interest (LOI) to [email protected] by October 17, 2022. LOIs should describe (1) the policy/research question that motivates your application, and the program or policy you wish to evaluate (2) how rigorous evidence would inform how your organization or agency makes decisions, and (3) how a partnership with J-PAL North America would advance your efforts to use evidence to inform decision-making. We also invite you to share any information about how your policy question or program seeks to address racial disparities or may have a disproportionately large impact on communities of color.

See below for more details about the application timeline and Letters of Interest. For complete instructions, please see the “LOI Instructions” document at the bottom of this page.

Application Timeline

Timeline displaying each of the steps of the J-PAL North America Evaluation Incubator application process.


Who is eligible?

Organizations in the North America region interested in answering policy-relevant research questions on strategies to reduce and prevent homelessness are invited to apply. This includes nonprofit service providers, government agencies or offices, public housing authorities, Continuums of Care, and other organizations operating programs or policies aimed at fostering housing stability.

While we are open to any proposal that aims to reduce or prevent homelessness or foster housing stability, we are particularly interested in:

  • Projects seeking to address one or more of the open questions outlined in our Evidence Review:

    • What more can we learn about existing (e.g., rapid rehousing, legal representation in housing court) programs with a limited evidence base?

    • How do existing programs impact outcomes beyond housing stability (particularly for children)?

    • What bundle of services is most effective and for whom?

    • What can we learn about the supply of housing in promoting housing stability?

    • What is the impact of homelessness assistance programs at the community level?

  • Projects with a particular focus on racial equity

  • Programs operating at the intersection of housing/homelessness and one of J-PAL North America’s other initiatives, such as education or health care 

Because the Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator is focused on helping organizations design randomized evaluations, applicants must be open to working with J-PAL North America to look for ways to include random assignment in the implementation of the program or policy they are interested in testing. For example, an oversubscribed program’s slots might be allocated by a lottery; eligible beneficiaries of an undersubscribed program might be randomly encouraged to sign up; and pilot programs or programs being expanded to new locations could provide opportunities to randomly select who receives the program first.

For more information on identifying opportunities for randomized evaluations related to housing stability, see our Evidence Review.

What does the application entail?

Letters of Interest should include the following information:

  1. Cover sheet

  2. The applicant

  3. The question

  4. The intervention

  5. Opportunity for randomized evaluation

  6. Access to data

  7. Commitment to using evidence to inform decision-making

  8. Description and letters of support from outside stakeholders

For complete instructions, please see the “LOI Instructions” document at the bottom of this page.

What is the timeline for the Evaluation Incubator?

August 1, 2022: Call for Letters of Interest opens, LOIs accepted on a rolling basis

August 25, 2022: Webinar for prospective applicants

October 17, 2022: Deadline to submit Letters of Interest

Through early November 2022: J-PAL conducts applicant interviews

Mid-November 2022: Finalists selected and begin receiving proposal development support

Mid-February 2023: Deadline to submit full proposals

Mid-March 2023: Incubator partners are selected

March 2023–March 2024: Selected partners work with J-PAL North America staff to design a randomized evaluation of their program, find an academic partner, and potentially apply for full funding to carry out the evaluation. J-PAL North America staff will work with partners to determine what activities to focus on and how long J-PAL staff will support the project. Length of the support will vary depending on project needs, and can last for up to 12 months.

What types of assistance does J-PAL North America provide applicants?

J-PAL North America staff, who are not members of the Review Board, are available to provide support to help prospective applicants prepare strong applications. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend or view a recording of our informational webinar, which goes through the application process in detail. Please direct any remaining questions to Laina Sonterblum at [email protected], or sign up to attend office hours here.

Finalists (selected in mid-November 2022 by the Review Board) will receive proposal development support from J-PAL North America staff to build on the ideas described in their Letters of Interest. J-PAL staff will work with finalists to help develop a competitive proposal to submit by mid-February 2023.

Partner organizations (selected in March 2023 by the Review Board) will receive technical assistance, training, and flexible funding (​​based on demonstrated need) to assess the feasibility of a randomized evaluation and design a rigorous evaluation. J-PAL North America staff will also work to match partner organizations with academic researchers in our network to collaborate on the evaluation design. Partners who successfully 1) develop a feasible randomized evaluation design and 2) match with an academic researcher may then jointly apply for additional funding through one of J-PAL North America’s Requests for Proposals to carry out the evaluation.

Who will review my application?

The Review Board for the Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator will review all applications. The Review Board is composed of J-PAL North America’s Scientific Director Lawrence Katz and J-PAL affiliates Judd Kessler and William Evans.

Page Content