RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness

House-shaped wooden blocks being placed in a row. Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Matt Bush / Getty Images

Despite unprecedented levels of spending and policymaking focused on the issue, the number of people experiencing housing instability and homelessness has continued to steadily increase in high-cost metro areas around the country in recent years. Rising rents and home prices, regulatory barriers to producing housing, and a lack of coordination among service entities have all contributed to this lack of progress. Furthermore, practitioners and individuals experiencing homelessness, who have the experiences and knowledge necessary to drive change, often lack a voice in formulating policy.

The Center on Housing and Homelessness, launched as part of RAND’s Tomorrow Demands Today fundraising campaign, was developed to conduct rigorous research and fill critical evidence gaps that can advance solutions to the country’s housing and homelessness crises.

The center brings together interdisciplinary research teams, expert data collection, and diverse analytic methods to address the challenges of increasing housing affordability and better understanding and serving the needs of people experiencing housing instability and homelessness.

Research Agenda

The center’s research focus areas include

  • working to align incentives among stakeholders, including people experiencing homelessness, community members, service providers, housing developers, and policymakers
  • exploring broad questions concerning the supply and demand for housing and services, including the disproportionate impacts on communities of color and the needs of subpopulations such as veterans
  • addressing the effects of COVID-19, including policies to reduce the flow of individuals into homelessness and exploring opportunities such as the adaptive reuse of underutilized commercial real estate for housing.

Research and Commentary

RAND's work has tackled some of the most pressing policy issues related to housing and homelessness. We've highlighted a sample of research and commentary below that address these topics.

Housing Supply

Homeless Services

  • Journal Article

    Assessment of Services for People Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles

    To help inform the investment strategy of the United Way, researchers assessed the daytime services available for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles county. Questions asked include: Who is providing services? How are they currently funded and staffed? At what scale and physical capacity do they operate? What services are they providing?

    Aug 30, 2023

Criminal Justice

Special Populations

  • Commentary

    LA's Rental Landscape Is Dire. It Could Get Worse

    Los Angeles is one of the least affordable places to live in the country. If the city prefers to keep strengthening renter protections while blocking developers from constructing affordable housing, residents will need to brace for a stricter, even pricier rental market under the growing watch of aggravated landlords and faceless corporations.

    Feb 13, 2024


  • Commentary

    Access to Mobile Technology Could Help with Homelessness

    The vast majority of people experiencing homelessness have cell phones, which often serve as their lifelines. Providing technological supports, such as Wi-Fi access and opportunities to charge devices, could result in better access to social services and, ultimately, better quality of life and outcomes.

    Sep 16, 2020

See more RAND research on Homelessness


A logo for the A-Mark Foundation

The RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness was established through a generous gift from the Lowy family. Support from the A-Mark Foundation is helping the center address unsheltered homelessness in Los Angeles.