The Effects of Designated Homeless Housing Sites on Local Communities: Evidence from Los Angeles County
38 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 28, 2019
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
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