Abt Associates’ Evaluation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Chronic Homelessness Initiative
Inflow into homelessness and chronic homelessness continues to be a significant concern across the Los Angeles region. The 2019 Point-in-Time count data showed that more than half of unsheltered adults, approximately 20,000 people, were experiencing homelessness for the first time, and it will be important to ensure that they do not develop chronic patterns of homelessness.67 The community is investing in strategies that meet the needs of individuals falling into both homelessness and chronic homelessness such as scaling up outreach to link people to services and housing resources, providing restrooms and mobile showers for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, and creating additional interim housing for people to transition off the streets, including people for whom permanent supportive housing is the appropriate placement but is not yet available.
Many of the efforts to reduce inflow into chronic homelessness focus on engaging people who are staying on the streets, connecting them to emergency shelter or bridge housing, and providing health and hygiene services. People who experience extended periods of unsheltered homelessness often experience trauma and victimization as well as unhealthy living conditions. These factors can make it difficult to manage chronic health conditions and worsen symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders68, which will make it more difficult to for them get and keep housing and increase the risk that their homelessness will become chronic.
In 2018, community partners and researchers continued efforts to understand inflow into homelessness and chronic homelessness and the driving factors. However, there are still many unknowns about how to target efforts to prevent homelessness effectively and efficiently and about the factors that predict or influence which people are most likely to experience chronic homelessness. As researchers, governmental agencies, and community organizations continue to work to learn more about inflow, the community continues to invest in new programs and expand existing programs across systems of care that intersect with the homeless service system, including criminal justice and workforce development, as well as the healthcare system.