Special RFP: Homelessness

This special request for proposals is focused on randomized evaluations of services targeted towards individuals and families experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. J-PAL North America’s Homelessness RFP supports randomized evaluations of strategies and innovations that address homelessness prevention and mitigation. These strategies and innovations may be related to:

  • Short-term financial assistance for individuals and families at imminent risk of experiencing homelessness;
  • Legal representation in housing court for individuals and families at risk of eviction;
  • Project-based transitional housing;
  • Rapid re-housing;
  • Permanent supportive housing;
  • Broader housing subsidies, such as Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, and low-income housing tax credits;
  • Rent control;
  • Evaluating whether housing first programs reduce the public costs of homelessness;
  • The long-term benefits of homelessness reduction programs, on a broad range of outcomes from housing stability to well-being and health;
  • Whether coordinated entry successfully matches people to the right programs;
  • How existing programs can be designed, targeted, and bundled to be most effective.

This list is not exhaustive: any proposal that explores forward-looking mechanisms to prevent homelessness, or interventions and services for people experiencing homelessness is potentially in scope. We are accepting applications for full research projects, pilot studies, and travel/proposal development grants.

Homelessness RFP Application Documents - LAST UPDATED 12/7/2018

Types of Proposals:

  1. Full Research Projects: Full research projects are typically awarded between $50,000 and $150,000, and rarely above $200,000. Researchers must propose a clear and well-developed research question including detailed randomization design and power calculations according to relevant minimum detectable effect sizes. 
  2. Pilot Studies: Pilot studies are eligible for funding of $50,000 or less. However, if researchers apply to receive short-term research management (STReaM), pilot studies are eligible for funding of up to $75,000. Researchers should seek to answer a particular research question; however, the design and implementation require further testing and piloting. Random assignment does not necessarily need to occur during a pilot study. Proposals should explain how the pilot will lead to a randomized evaluation in the future.
  3. Travel/Proposal Development Grants. Travel/proposal development grants are eligible for funding up to $5,000. These grants are to be used for early stage activities with the goal of launching a randomized evaluation in North America. Application materials can be found here: Travel/Proposal Development Grant Application.

In this RFP cycle, we will be offering the opportunity to receive short-term research management (STReaM). This is a program that provides approximately six months of research management support from J-PAL North America staff. This support can be used for either full studies or pilots, and may include but is not limited to: coordinating communication across stakeholders; refining randomization implementation design and consent procedures; pilot design and implementation; study process monitoring. For more information about STReaM and to apply, please visit the STREAM webpage or email us at [email protected].


The Special RFP on Homelessness is not open at this time. However, J-PAL North America will consider off-cycle proposals for full projects, pilots, and travel/proposal development grants. Decisions on these applications are typically made in about two weeks. 

Who may apply?

For all proposals, the pool of eligible applicants includes J-PAL affiliates, J-PAL post-docs, and invited researchers to the J-PAL North America SPRI RFP. For travel / proposal development grants and pilots, the pool of eligible applicants is extended to include graduate students who have a J-PAL affiliate on their thesis committee at their host university. All proposals may include collaborators outside of this network, but the principal investigator (PI) must be an eligible applicant. Eligible applicants can submit a maximum of three proposals per twelve-month period, per initiative. Note: PI and co-PI status are counted towards this limit.

Who will review applications?

The Review Board is composed of J-PAL North America’s Scientific Directors Amy Finkelstein and Lawrence Katz, as well as J-PAL affiliate Judd Kessler. Each proposal will be peer reviewed by one member of the Review Board and two researchers and/or policy experts not on the Review Board. The Review Board will meet to agree on final funding decisions.


For questions about the Homelessness RFP, please email Rohit Naimpally.