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L.A.’s Approach to Homelessness & Vouchers Shows Promise, According to Abt, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Study

Rockville, Md.  –  For more than 10 years, Los Angeles has been engaged in a community-wide effort to end homelessness, and rental subsidies and supportive services are a major component of the strategy for expanding access to permanent housing. Most of the community’s tenant-based rental subsidies are provided through the federal government’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This is the largest federal housing assistance program available to the lowest income renters across the nation, and public housing authorities (PHAs) across Los Angeles County administer a substantial number of HCVs that are dedicated to people experiencing homelessness.

In partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Abt Global examined how effective the Los Angeles region’s PHAs are in using vouchers to help people leave homelessness. The findings included:

  • Once issued a voucher that permitted them to search for housing, nearly seven of every 10 households experiencing homelessness (65 percent) succeeded in leasing a housing unit with voucher assistance.
  • Los Angeles County incentives for landlords that rent to people experiencing homelessness appear to help drive these high success rates.
  • The per-household cost for PHAs to serve people experiencing homelessness is only slightly higher than the cost of serving people who are not experiencing homelessness. The additional cost of serving a formerly homeless household is $29 per month, or about 3 percent.
  • Case managers and landlord incentives appear especially important for helping Black and Hispanic households overcome barriers to leasing up.

“What’s exciting about our findings is that they show us that, with the help of supportive services and landlord incentives—even in Los Angeles’ challenging housing market—people experiencing homelessness can be successful in using federal vouchers,” said Abt author Nichole Fiore. “We know the field will benefit from taking a closer look at how this approach can be further leveraged in communities across the U.S.” 

“The results from Los Angeles validate the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's strategic grantmaking in assisting unhoused people through housing vouchers,” said Seyron Foo, Senior Program Officer, Homelessness at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “Vouchers are among the best resources available to end homelessness--that's why we've provided more than $10 million dollars to enhance homeless service providers’ capacity to assist people in successfully utilizing vouchers. As a community, we need to ensure that people experiencing homelessness are able to use the vouchers they receive. Abt Global’s report highlights the specific ways this program accomplishes that, with incentives that bring landlords on board and case management services that walk voucher users through every step of the process until they have a place they call home.”

Read the full report here.

About Abt Global
Abt Global is a global consulting and research firm that combines data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives. We partner with clients and communities to advance equity and innovation—from creating scalable digital solutions and combatting infectious disease, to mitigating climate change and evaluating programs for measurable social impact.

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