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Homelessness , Reports and Publications

New Tool Predicts Individuals and Youth at Risk of Experiencing Homelessness

1 April 2019
Economic Roundtable

The Economic Roundtable released a new report entitled Early Intervention to Prevent Persistent Homelessness. This report summarizes two predictive screening models for identifying high-risk individuals and young adults who are at risk of experiencing chronic homelessness. The first tool looks at unemployed, or underemployed, individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless due to loss of employment and young adults who might experience homelessness during their first three years of adulthood.

The report consists of two parts. The first part highlights the characteristics and needs of the individuals and young adults who are more likely to experience chronic homelessness. The second part describes the multivariable analyses used to create the tools.

According to the report, low-wage workers who are African-American, single, and male are at high-risk of experiencing long term homelessness after losing their job. Individuals who end up experiencing chronic homelessness tend to have a history of underemployment, low wages, and job turnover. Youth who are experiencing chronic homelessness are more likely to have higher employment rates than their housed peers, but lower earnings. Also, a youth who was involved in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems and those who experienced homelessness as a child and six years before they became an adult and identified as African-American are at risk of experiencing chronic homelessness. Furthermore, the costs of public service use among chronically homeless individuals tend to be higher than those who had never experienced homelessness.

The authors noted that early identification of individuals who are at risk of experiencing homelessness might help to target services to prevent individuals from entering the homelessness system and may help to quickly provide intervention for those who become homelessness so that they can avoid long-term homelessness. They also noted a need for education and training, employment subsidies programs, and housing to help high-risk workers find and maintain better jobs.

Lastly, the predictive models have high accuracy in identifying newly unemployed workers who might experience chronic homelessness (81% accuracy), and young adults who might become homelessness (72% accuracy). The authors noted that the tools may not identify all high-risk individuals and suggested incorporating an option for service providers’ input based on the situation and population being served.

Click here to read the report.