At Home- News from Abt Associates' Housing and Communities Practice
Abt's Housing and  Communities practice: Delivering solutions to ensure vulnerable  Americans have a place to call home
 At Home is a quarterly
e-newsletter from the Housing & Communities Practice at Abt Associates. Here you'll find the latest research results and 
expert insights about housing and community development issues. 
Spring 2014   

New Study Discusses Efforts by PHAs to Assist People Experiencing Homelessness

Jill Khadduri HUD Briefing
Jill Khadduri, Abt Senior Fellow and Principal Associate

One-quarter of all public housing agencies (PHAs), including many of the largest agencies, attempt to serve people experiencing homelessness by prioritizing some people over others on waiting lists for housing assistance or eliminating obstacles to their use of the Housing Choice Voucher and public housing programs, an Abt Associates study finds. 


"These PHAs have preferences that put people experiencing homelessness at, or near the top of, the waiting list, or they use other means to remove barriers to using housing assistance," said Abt Senior Fellow Jill Khadduri, principal investigator of the study. The Study of PHA's Efforts to Serve People Experiencing Homelessness was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Counting Homeless Populations with Secretary Donovan   


Secretary Donovan with Abt staff
From left to right: Abt Associates' Katherine Buck, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Abt Associates' Korrin Bishop prepare for the annual Point-in-Time count.

With bitterly cold temperatures dipping into single digits, Abt researchers fanned out across Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Maryland, on January 29 and 30 to take part in the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates of homelessness. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan participated as well in the PIT count. Volunteers around the nation conduct counts of homeless people in late January to provide a snapshot of homelessness in America. 


The counts provide an estimate of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations, as well as homeless individuals within particular sub-populations, such as chronically homeless people and veterans. Abt Associates uses the data to produce a two-part Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which submits it to Congress as an official update on homelessness in America. The AHARs have been conducted annually for HUD by Abt Associates researchers since 2007, in partnership with Dr. Dennis Culhane at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Counting DC's Homeless... 
Data Became People  
A personal reflection by Korrin Bishop, Associate Analyst 


Wearing comfortable boots and warm layers, I walked through the chilly night along Massachusetts Avenue towards Thomas Circle.  Passing 16th Street, I gazed down rows of city buildings framing the illuminated White House and Washington Monument, icons of American history.  I smiled at this quintessential Washington, D.C. moment where I clearly saw where I was and why.  I was in our nation's capital, about to take part in D.C.'s 2014 Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Census because I wanted to participate in our country's history of social change.


At the PIT count check-in, volunteers, including Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Barbara Poppe, committed their Wednesday night to finding and surveying unsheltered community members.  The participation of these government leaders right alongside service providers, concerned residents, researchers, and policymakers demonstrated the Departments' commitment to ending homelessness.  In his opening remarks, Secretary Shinseki made a statement that resonated with me throughout the night: "I learned a long time ago I couldn't solve a problem I can't see."

Read more.

What We're Talking About


3 Good (and 3 Not-So-Good) Uses for HUD's New Data on Location Affordability

Jeffrey Lubell  

Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog
November 15, 2013

In this blog, Lubell examined how HUD's new location affordability portal can be used to inform local policy decisions that help reduce families' combined costs for housing and transportation  


Not What It Used to Be: Schemas of Class and Contradiction in the Great Recession

Anna Jefferson

112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association 

Chicago, IL | November 23, 2013

At this presentation, Jefferson discussed key findings from her research on how distressed homeowners and housing counselors in Michigan negotiated new ideas about "being middle class," taking account of the state's industrial prowess, deindustrialization, and the ongoing housing crisis. The full paper is under review at Economic Anthropology.


Rapid Re-housing for Individuals and Families

Tom Albanese

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) National Conference 

Ottawa, Canada | October 29 - 30, 2013

In this presentation, Albanese offered an overview of rapid re-housing, including key features, target population, and strategies for effective program design and delivery.

Managing Community Transition from Crisis Response to Ending Homelessness

Tom Albanese

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) National Conference 

Ottawa, Canada | October 29 - 30, 2013

Albanese provided an overview of effective system and program approaches used in different communities that embrace Housing First practices and discussed planning, implementation, and performance improvement strategies for communities seeking to prevent and end homelessness.

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"In House"
by Jeffrey Lubell  
Jeffrey Lubell, director of housing initiatives
What's the End Game for Meeting America's Rental Housing Needs? Part II


A number of important initiatives are now underway to improve our understanding of how to help residents of subsidized rental housing increase their earnings and assets. These represent a good start. But only a start. This month's installment of "In House" reviews what else should be done and why. 

How Can the Affordable Care Act Help People with Disabilities Live in Community Settings?

Panelists Explore Question at Abt-hosted Webinar


As states and communities act to comply with the mandate of the Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead decision-- to ensure that people with disabilities live in the least restrictive setting possible that meets their needs-- fresh opportunities offered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are providing both a promise of better services for vulnerable populations and difficult questions on how to coordinate them effectively. Both the opportunities and the questions were the subject of the "Intersection of Housing Policy and Health: Olmstead is the Mandate, ACA the Opportunity," a webinar hosted by Abt Associates in late January. 


"Linking housing and health services will require some delicate footwork," said Abt Senior Fellow and Principal Associate Jill Khadduri, who co-moderated the webinar with Abt Senior Fellow Danna Mauch and Senior Associate Gretchen Locke. "This integration will require close coordination among state systems and state and federal funding streams, and this is what we explored in this webinar."


Like the Olmstead decision, the ACA encourages states to expand community-based living options and creates financial incentives to do so, Khadduri explained, adding that savings from reducing spending on costly institutional care can be redirected to new housing initiatives and expanded services. 


The webinar drew experts from federal and state agencies, advocacy and policy leadership organizations as well as from Abt Associates. Panelists included Alison Barkoff, special counsel for Olmstead Enforcement in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; Chuck Milligan, Medicaid director for the State of Maryland; Dan Burke, HUD's director of Multifamily Housing in the Chicago region; and Kevin Martone, executive director of the Technical Assistance Collaborative, a major provider of assistance to practitioners that provide housing for people with disabilities. 


The hour-long webinar drew more than 350 attendees and included slide presentations


To view the webinar, please click here.

Interested in Past Issues of At Home?
At Home is a quarterly e-newsletter from the Housing and Communities Practice at Abt Associates. Here you'll find the latest research results and expert insights about housing and community development issues.

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