Targeting Emergency Financial Assistance to Prevent Homelessness
Approximately 3,000 families apply for short-term financial assistance through the Homelessness Prevention Call Center (HPCC) in Chicago each year. As little as $1,000 can prevent some households from entering the shelter system and save them from associated diminished outcomes across multiple areas of life. However, effective targeting is critical for the efficient use of limited funds. Researchers from the UChicago Poverty Lab propose to use a two-phase approach to design and rigorously test the implementation of new, data-driven eligibility criteria intended to more efficiently target homelessness prevention funding. The retrospective analysis (Phase I) will seek to assess treatment effect heterogeneity and identify caller characteristics associated with the greatest treatment effect, which we will use to create and test new targeting criteria in an RCT (Phase II). Study findings will help improve the targeting of financial assistance funding to prevent homelessness in Chicago and other cities across the nation.