Federal homelessness policy: A robust political economy approach

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5 Scopus citations


In the wake of the financial crisis, the United States government introduced a new large-scale initiative to address homelessness. The policy mandate is marked by both an unprecedented increase in federal funding and a dramatic reallocation of resources toward Housing First, a service model emphasizing immediate housing subsidization. Although this service paradigm has received support from a sizeable literature, our knowledge of its success to date has been limited. This paper sheds light on the unobservable or unmeasured costs of this new centralized approach to ending homelessness. I argue that federal homelessness policy under the Housing First approach 1) generates resource misallocation, 2) exacerbates the Samaritan’s dilemma, and 3) invites rent seeking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-303
Number of pages27
JournalReview of Austrian Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Homelessness
  • Housing first
  • Public policy
  • Robust political economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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