Current Projects

LA LEADS (Longitudinal Enumeration and Demographic Survey Study)

In Fall 2021 the center launched a first of a kind data collection effort to provide better estimates of unsheltered people in Los Angeles and gather their perspectives on obtaining housing in Los Angeles. Three “hot spot” areas—Skid Row, Hollywood, and Venice—were visited to count the number of unhoused people, vehicles, tents and makeshift shelters. We also surveyed more than 400 individuals in these same areas on their demographics, experiences with homelessness, and their housing needs. To date we have released an interim report and annual report detailing the findings from this ongoing study. In 2023 we are continuing to do enumerations and will deploy an updated survey to learn more about the experiences of unsheltered Angelenos.

This study has been covered extensively by the LA Times, KPCC radio, KCRW radio, CBS News, and other media outlets. The LA LEADS study is made possible by generous funding from the Lowy Family Group and the A-Mark Foundation. An early extension of the LA LEADS study focusing on the “Veterans Row” encampment outside the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Campus was funded by the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute, which was established from a gift by the Daniel J. Epstein Family Foundation to RAND.

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Read the news release Read the report Read the interim report

Determining the Feasibility of Developing a Comprehensive Data Tool of Housing Stock to Address Homelessness in Los Angeles

Despite the dramatic scope of homelessness in Los Angeles County, we lack a credible, comprehensive source of data on the housing stock available for addressing this issue. Creating a single source that measures the existing levels of housing can critically inform efforts to assess the appropriate mix of housing to best meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness (PEH). In 2022, we published a tool that presents information from a wide array of sources on permanent supportive housing in Los Angeles County.

This project is to determine the feasibility of expanding this database to encompass both traditional and less obvious forms of residential options for PEH across a broad range of levels of care, from inpatient care to independent housing with no direct access to services. Bringing these diverse sources of information together and synthesizing into a functional, usable data tool will allow policy makers and housing planners to better understand the extent of housing supports available to PEH and help to better address the needs of this population moving forward. This project is funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

An Evaluation of Crime-Free Housing Programs

In the state of California, over 90 cities have “crime-free housing programs”, which encourage or require private landlords and property managers to add supplemental agreements to leases, stating tenants in multifamily housing units can be evicted if they are arrested by law enforcement. Proponents of this policy state this leads to reduced property and violent crime rates in cities while detractors claim these policies lead to increased evictions and surveillance of low-income tenants. To date, this policy has not been evaluated by researchers and this project aims to investigate the policy’s outcomes using contemporary causal inference methods and qualitative research methods. In addition, this project is building a new dataset for researchers concerning evictions, using records on “notices-of-restoration” obtained from all sheriff departments in the state of California.

Homeless Service Sector Living Wage Study

This is a mixed method study that examines the living wage in LA County and contextualizes it in relationship to the wages provided in the homeless service sector. This project is funded by Social Justice Partners Los Angeles and Cedars Sinai.

Read the report
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Understanding Transition Aged Youth Homeless Experiences and Foster Care Involvement

This project seeks to build foundational knowledge about transition aged youth (TAY) experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County and will, more specifically, expand on what is known about those involved with the foster care (FC) system. First, RAND will conduct a survey effort to gather extensive quantitative and qualitative information from a large sample of unhoused TAY including demographic information, involvement with the FC system, past housing and homelessness experiences, and current housing needs and preferences. Second, RAND will conduct a longitudinal qualitative interview effort that includes monthly data collection with up to 25 FC-involved TAY for up to one year. In these interviews, we will assess life goals, factors contributing to lack of housing or housing instability, and housing system and outcomes. This rich qualitative data will enable us to track changes over time in these outcomes and how they are related to other measures, such as health and well-being. This project is funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Daytime Services Landscape Analysis

RAND will conduct a countywide assessment of the landscape of daytime services available for people experiencing homelessness including recommendations for further investment. This project is funded by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

Understanding Evictions in LA County to Improve Homelessness Prevention Programming

Researchers have established that evictions are a risk factor for homelessness. However, little is known about the occurrence and causes of evictions within Los Angeles County. Additionally, Los Angeles County administers programs that provide short-term rental and legal assistance to income-eligible individuals facing evictions. However, given the lack of data on the location of evictions, eviction prevention programs may not effectively reach individuals at risk of being evicted. In this project, we are working with service organizations and housing providers to develop an interactive toolkit to support providers in identifying individuals at risk of eviction. We will leverage detailed disaggregated data we have collected on the occurrence of evictions within Los Angeles County. We will also attempt to link data on evictions with information on unhoused individuals to better understand the relationship between evictions and homelessness. This project is funded by the Homelessness Policy Research Institute with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Evaluation of Breaking Barriers, an Adult Reentry Rental Assistance Grant Program

Breaking Barriers is a program is designed to provide scattered-site rapid re-housing and employment services to adults on felony probation who are experiencing homelessness or are precariously housed in Los Angeles County. During the early years of the program, RAND conducted a formative evaluation to provide early feedback to stakeholders on program progress and a summative evaluation examining initial program outcomes (Hunter et al. 2020). RAND is currently conducting a second evaluation of the program using both qualitative and quantitative approaches and a participatory, performance improvement approach. The process component of the evaluation aims to assess whether the established program is meeting process objectives, including linkage to rental assistance, employment and educational services, and community resources. The outcomes component of the evaluation will focus on employment, income, housing stability, and recidivism (exits from the program due to incarceration), as well as correlations between these outcomes and participant experiences and characteristics. Funding for the rental assistance program and evaluation are supported by a grant from the California Board of State and Community Corrections.