Another especially promising RCT of the past 18 months: @urbaninstitute’s study of the Denver Supportive Housing SIB initiative, providing housing & supportive services to homeless people with over 7 prior arrests. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds roughly 30–40% reductions in jail & shelter use, emergency department visits, & arrests over 2–3 yrs.

Program:

  • Per the study report: The program "provided a housing subsidy and supportive services focused on helping residents stay housed. [It] used a Housing First approach that aimed to quickly get people out of homelessness and into housing, without requiring that participants meet preconditions ..."

Study Design:

  • The study randomly assigned 724 homeless people with over 7 prior arrests to a program group vs control group (which received usual community services). Based on careful review, I believe this was a high-quality RCT (e.g., with good baseline balance, negligible attrition).

Findings:

  • The program reduced days in jail by 28%, days in shelter by 35%, and number of arrests by 41% over 3 years; & emergency department visits by 39% over 2 years. All of these effects were statistically significant.

  • The savings from reduced use of such services offset roughly half the program's cost of $12-15K/person/year.

Comment:

  • Disclosure: My former employer, Arnold Ventures, helped fund this Social Impact Bond initiative and study. The main study reports are here, here, and here.

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy statement for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.

Intuit Mailchimp logo