This paper examines the economic resources of homeless adults using a unique data set from Los Angeles. The homeless rely on a variety of sources for income; the two most common sources are the government and the family. Over 58 per cent received government transfers in the 30 days prior to the interview, while one-third had received cash assistance from a family member or friend. Familial transfers in the form of shared housing and meals also are important. While familial transfers buffer declines in income among the homeless, private support networks are not pervasive enough to overcome the severe difficulties the homeless face. Moreover, it is unclear why such a high share of homeless do not participate in government programs, although the evidence suggests that transaction costs are likely to be an important factor.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.