Is Shared Housing a Way to Reduce Homelessness?

He, Yinghua; O'Flaherty, Brendan Andrew; Rosenheck, Robert A.

Most single adults share housing with other adults, and living alone is considerably more expensive than living with someone else. Yet policies that discourage shared housing for formerly homeless people or people at risk of becoming homeless are common, and those that encourage it are rare. This would be understandable if such housing adversely affected its users in some way. We ask whether shared housing produces adverse effects. Our provisional answer is no. Indeed, shared housing is associated with reduced psychotic symptomology and it appears that this relationship is causal over some time frames, although the latter result is not robust. We use data from ACCESS, a 5-year, 18 site demonstration project with over 6,000 formerly homeless individuals as participants.

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Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 0809-04
Published Here
March 28, 2011