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Evaluating the HomeStart Eviction Prevention Program


  • Can an eviction prevention program improve housing stability while reducing costs for landlords?
  • Abt is gathering data through a series of evaluations that track outcomes for tenants who receive aid.
  • Results will inform future program replications and evaluations.
The Challenge

HomeStart is a Boston-based nonprofit organization with a goal of eliminating homelessness due to eviction for non-payment, notably for families with subsidies and the working poor in Massachusetts. Eviction is costly not only for tenants but for landlords; in many cases, it’s more costly for the landlord to evict a tenant than it is for HomeStart to provide the tenant with eviction prevention services. HomeStart’s program model is based on a simple cost-benefit argument: for each eviction the organization prevents, large private property owners reimburse HomeStart the cost of providing eviction prevention services (conditional on the tenancy’s stability after 12 months). HomeStart wants to determine its impact on the hundreds of clients it has served who are tenants of the Boston Housing Authority.

The Approach

Abt Global is evaluating HomeStart’s impact. We’re tracking the court rulings, housing stability, and income of households that face eviction for nonpayment of rent from the Boston Housing Authority, and comparing outcomes of those who were served by HomeStart to those who were not. We’re also interviewing household served by the program and updating HomeStart’s cost benefit analysis.

The Results

These results will help determine future evaluation activities as HomeStart and other social service organizations consider scaling up and replicating the program.

We expect early results in summer 2020.