The Effects of Designated Homeless Housing Sites on Local Communities: Evidence from Los Angeles County

38 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020

See all articles by Elior Cohen

Elior Cohen

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research

Date Written: December 28, 2019

Abstract

Los Angeles County's homeless population has increased by approximately 40 percent in the past five years. While county voters have supported the goal by approving billions of dollars in bonds that would provide tens of thousands of affordable housing units and services for the homeless, there remains a substantial gap in affordable housing for the homeless and low-income individuals who are at risk of homelessness, drive by fears and stigma in local communities. I investigate the effect of such housing sites on street homelessness, crime, and property values. I construct a comprehensive data that geocodes the locations of all designated homeless housing sites in Los Angeles County. Using spatial and time variation in homeless housing sites, I estimate the exposure of a community to designated homeless housing sites over time and use changes in this exposure to recover the causal relationship. I find that communities that had an increase in homeless housing in their boundaries and vicinity experience a sizable decline in homeless encampments, overall crime, and homeless-related crimes, and that housing values in these communities had increased.

Keywords: Homelessness, NIMBY, Crime, Property Values

JEL Classification: H, H4, H42, H44, H8, I30

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Elior, The Effects of Designated Homeless Housing Sites on Local Communities: Evidence from Los Angeles County (December 28, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3513625 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3513625

Elior Cohen (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

8283 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research ( email )

337 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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