Outreach is a core component of homelessness policy, but its effectiveness at housing individuals has been understudied. Employing administrative data, this paper compares the outcomes of outreach clients to those who initially enter shelters. It finds that outreach clients compared to the shelter population, are less likely to be in households with children, had been homeless for longer periods of time, and suffer from greater vulnerabilities. Outreach clients, nevertheless, are less likely to return to homelessness after receiving homeless services. The comparative cost analysis finds that outreach leads to 59% more days housed for each dollar in program expenditures.
Housing Outcomes for Homeless Individuals in Street Outreach Compared to Shelter
Journal of Poverty