Homelessness Prevention in King County

Last registered on May 18, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Homelessness Prevention in King County
Initial registration date
June 08, 2018
Last updated
May 18, 2020, 10:02 AM EDT


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Primary Investigator

University of Notre Dame

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This research project will evaluate the effectiveness of two different approaches to homelessness prevention. We will use a lottery to
measure the effectiveness of (1) a combined program of progressive case management and flexible funds relative to (2) immediate
financial assistance. This project will be conducted in the context of the Youth and Family Homelessness Prevention Initiative (YFHPI)
in King County, Washington, where lawmakers are interested in assessing the effectiveness of the program's case management
component. The results of this study will also be informative to policymakers and service providers in other communities that are
interested in the most effective means of homelessness prevention.

This lead investigators on this project are from the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame. They are collaborating with the King County Department of Community and Human Services and the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT.

About LEO:

The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) is a research center in the Department of Economics at the University of Notre Dame that conducts rigorous impact evaluations to identify innovative, effective and scalable anti-poverty programs. LEO’s research is directed by faculty from the University of Notre Dame as well as scholars from across the country with expertise in designing and evaluating the impact of domestic anti-poverty programs. Our research initiatives span a wide range of poverty focus areas.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Phillips, David and James Sullivan. 2020. "Homelessness Prevention in King County ." AEA RCT Registry. May 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2854-2.1
Former Citation
Phillips, David, David Phillips and James Sullivan. 2020. "Homelessness Prevention in King County ." AEA RCT Registry. May 18. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2854/history/68606
Experimental Details


Intervention Definition: Case management plus access to flexible funding (standard care)
The current YFHPI intervention involves a combination of case management and flexible funds. Case management is based on a model of progressive engagement, originally piloted by the Domestic Violence Housing First project. Progressive engagement means that case managers customize the level and extent of case management services to a particular client’s situation. Regular case management activities include navigating interactions with landlords, identifying suitable housing, and other housing-specific activities. But case management also regularly includes broader activities related to budgeting, employment, dependent care, etc. that can support housing stability. Case managers aim to develop a relationship of trust that allows the participant to better navigate a path to housing stability.
While purely providing funds for eviction prevention is not the primary design of this program, case managers can directly provide
financial assistance through flexible funds.

Intervention Definition: Immediate Financial Assistance (experimental group)
This intervention is basically the financial assistance part of the standard of care, stripped of the case management element. This is
an experimental intervention that exists for research purposes. The client will be asked to provide verification of their need, but is
eligible for immediate financial assistance after the need has been verified. Funding can be used to cover all of the same expenses
that funding could be used for in the standard YFHPI intervention.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Use of homelessness services, shelter entry, address stability, evictions
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Child education; Involvement with protective services; criminal justice involvement, physical health, public benefits enrollment
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Randomized Controlled Trial - Each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to either intervention.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by the computer software using during program enrollment.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters planned.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
300 in each treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Notre Dame
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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