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By Published On: July 6th, 2023Categories: Reports

The University of California, San Francisco Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI) just released Toward a New Understanding — The California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness – a comprehensive study on the causes of homelessness in California. Researchers surveyed more than 3,200 homeless residents and conducted 365 in-depth interviews of homeless residents in eight selected counties that represent the diversity of the State.

The report dives into a variety of issues, including life experiences and the most common reasons for homelessness, experiences faced while homeless, and barriers to returning to housing.

The report’s findings underscore the complex factors that contribute to one’s cycle into homelessness and affirm the urgent and critical need for affordable housing. These factors include health conditions, decreases in income, and housing precarity, all of which make the challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness even more difficult. Notably, the findings shed light on the fact that a significant number of single adults are encountering homelessness for the first time in their later years, specifically after the age of 50.  Moreover, the findings emphasize the importance of implementing integrated, collaborative, and holistic approaches to effectively address the unmet needs of the entire population. To this end, the report includes a number of policy recommendations, ranging from increasing access to housing vouchers and rental assistance, expanding services to people released from institutions (jails, foster care, hospitals), increasing and strengthening rental protections, enhancing services to address mental health and substance abuse issues, and increasing household incomes through employment support.

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About the Author

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Colleen Murphy is a Principal with LeSar Development Consultants’ Homelessness Solutions Team, where she designs and implements homelessness-related programs emphasizing unsheltered/encampment strategies and the intersection of homelessness and healthcare. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from James Madison University and a postgraduate diploma in Epidemiology from the University of London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Biography | Email

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