Evaluation of the STEP Fund Micro-loan Program

Last registered on September 08, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Evaluation of the STEP Fund Micro-loan Program
Initial registration date
August 31, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 08, 2022, 12:42 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator

University of Notre Dame

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The 1P Foundation is a California-based foundation created in 2020 that is taking a unique approach to homelessness in the Los Angeles community, utilizing micro-loans to help prevent individuals from falling into homelessness. Through the STEP Fund, 1P aims to prevent homelessness by providing non-punitive, no-interest micro-loans to economically vulnerable Los Angelenos who are at imminent risk of homelessness. The project team is evaluating the impact of the 1P micro-loan intervention on housing stability, employment, earnings, and financial stability through an RCT design.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Collinson, Robert et al. 2022. "Evaluation of the STEP Fund Micro-loan Program." AEA RCT Registry. September 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9720-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome is housing stability as measured through homeless program use via the Homeless Management Information Services (HMIS) data.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Individuals will apply for a micro-loan through 1P's Online application. The first step is for individuals to fill out the form and then the individual will be screened for eligibility. In order to be eligible, applicants must live in LA County, be low income, be at imminent risk of homelessness, and have experienced a recent financial hardship. Among those deemed eligible, individuals will be asked for informed consent. Individuals who do not consent to study participation will remain outside of the study and will not receive access to a micro-loan. Those eligible and consenting to the study will be randomized into either receiving a loan or not. Those randomized to receive a loan will complete a follow-up interview with 1P staff as a way to double check that the client is in fact eligible. Any client with severe mental health issues or substance use disorder is not eligible for the loan. Individuals determined to be eligible will be randomized. 1P staff will follow-up with participants via email to notify them of whether they were randomly selected to receive a loan or not. Individuals randomly selected to be in the treatment group will receive a quick turnaround, easy to access, no-interest micro-loans of up to $2500. Funds will be distributed directly to the landlord or utility company over the course of a few days. Loans will be paid back by the individual over the course of three years. Individuals randomly selected to be in the control group will not have access to the 1P STEP Fund.

Baseline data will consist of information collected from the application form and program data. We will link this data to other administrative outcomes laid out in our pre-analysis plan.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization happens in Salesforce immediately after the potential client submits their initial loan application.
Randomization Unit
Randomization will happen at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
800 eligible loan applicants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
400 eligible loan applicants control, 400 eligible loan applicants treatment
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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