Black Resident’s Experiences and Outcomes in Permanent Supportive Housing in Los Angeles

Following the pathbreaking work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homelessness, we are working to illuminate and address anti-Black racism in Los Angeles’ Permanent Supportive Housing system.


Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is known for success in providing stable housing and supporting health for people experiencing homelessness (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018). In December of 2018, the Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homelessness published a comprehensive report on the systemic racism and resulting challenges Black Angelenos face in overcoming homelessness. They highlighted a stark inequity in Los Angeles’ PSH system. Black residents are more likely to return to homelessness after being placed in PSH than all other racial or ethnic groups. This inequity—its scale and scope, as well as the processes behind it—are the focus of our work.

Research Project

Few studies have focused on Black people’s experiences and outcomes leading up to, within, and after exiting PSH. Our mixed methods study is working to better quantify, illuminate, and address Black residents’ unequal experiences and outcomes in PSH. Through interviews and focus groups with over 30 PSH case managers, program managers, and Black residents, we explore perceptions of how the system supports or fails to support Black people. Interrogating our data with a structural lens (powell, 2006) reveals anti-Black processes that may co-produce adverse experiences and returns rates that begin before Black residents actually receive PSH.

In particular, we examine:

  1. bureaucratic segregation in the homelessness services system,
  2. discrimination during housing searches,
  3. under-compensated and temporary case managers,
  4. subtle and overt pathologization, and
  5. a system that fails to see Black residents and empower them to achieve more autonomous housing situations.

Research Team

Professor Norweeta Milburn (Principal Investigator), Earl Edwards, Dean Obermark, Janey Rountree


Read the report: Inequity in the Permanent Supportive Housing System in Los Angeles: Scale, Scope and Reasons for Black Residents’ Returns to Homelessness

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