Evaluation of LA County Prevention Targeting Tool

If homelessness prevention programs are not targeted to people at highest risk of homelessness, large amounts of public assistance could be spent on homelessness prevention without reducing the incidence of homelessness.


Long-term solutions to homelessness require not just housing people who become homeless but also preventing homelessness before it occurs. To stem homelessness inflows, public officials at the city, county, and state are pursuing strategies to prevent homelessness before it occurs. Homelessness prevention programs typically provide one-time cash assistance ranging on average between $1,000 to $5,000 and short-term direct services such as legal assistance. The key to scaling prevention programs and to reducing inflow to emergency shelters or the streets is to ensure prevention assistance is going to people actually at risk of homelessness by using evidence-based screening “tools.”

Research Project

CPL will evaluate and redesign screening tools that are used to determine whether people who are seeking homelessness prevention services are eligible for prevention. The goal is to help prevention providers more accurately assess risk and target services to people who are at the highest risk of homelessness. This project employs a mixed methods approach, using statistical analysis and advanced data science techniques in conjunction with interviews with service providers and people with lived expertise with homelessness. 

Research Team

Professor Till von Wachter (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. Robert Santillano (Co-Principal Investigator), Janey Rountree, Dr. Maya Buenaventura, Landon Gibson, April Nunn, Alyssa Arbolante, Nino Migineishvili


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