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    Breaking the Fall: Successful Homeless Interventions in the Covid Pandemic

    Economic Roundtable

    Year: 2022

    Struggling workers are either everyone’s responsibility now or everyone’s problem later. When poorly paid workers become jobless at the thin edge of the job market and then unable to pay rent, homeless destitution follows.

    In fact, we are equipped with the tools we need to protect workers from the sharper edges of joblessness and to combat homelessness.

    Recent government income and housing interventions during the Covid pandemic had demonstrable benefits in reducing the growth of homelessness. Comparisons of projected versus actual growth in Los Angeles County from 2020 to 2022 validate the benefit of these interventions.

    In the 2020 Locked Out report, we projected that the Covid recession would cause homelessness to increase 23 percent in Los Angeles, 17 percent in California and 14 percent in the United States from 2020 to 2022. Despite some observable increases in homelessness, increases on this scale did not occur.

    This report offers three types of analysis to identify what curtailed homeless growth. First, the homeless count is re-analyzed for accuracy. Estimates for both the 2020 and 2022 counts are adjusted, based on sampling and other observed problems with these counts. Next, encounters between homeless individuals and government institutions are analyzed to understand the trajectory of homelessness during the pandemic. Then, the successful impacts of government interventions are identified.

    We conclude by projecting the growth in homelessness if there is a recession in 2023, and recommending steps for curtailing this growth.

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