Reliable estimates of time spent homeless during a year are important for an evidence-based intervention framework. Understanding the prevalence of short-term versus persistent episodes of homelessness enables accurate allocation of resources based on differing levels of need. The prevailing approach to homelessness prevention and intervention is “progressive engagement.” This entails treating new entrants into homelessness with a light touch and providing progressively more intensive services as needed to help individuals re-establish themselves in stable housing.
We can’t navigate without a map. If we can't see the whole picture of homelessness, we can't begin to solve the problem. This meta-analysis brings together 26 point-in-time data sets to provide a single panoramic description of people without homes who are living in places not meant for human habitation. In addition to building affordable housing, the path for ending Los Angeles County’s crisis of chronic homelessness is through identifying individuals with a high risk of becoming chronically homeless early after the onset of homelessness and intervening with coordinated system-wide assistance that supports a permanent exit from homelessness before the problem is catastrophic.