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Homelessness in California

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More than 160,000 Californians are without housing. Despite the billions of government and private dollars spent to prevent homelessness, that number continues to rise in in the Golden State while it dips nationwide. Is this the result of failed policies and misguided efforts? Is homelessness too complex and intractable to solve in a state so large? Do we even have enough data to support a particular path forward? We've brought together scholars, policymakers, advocates and those with frontline experience to better understand the underlying issues and catalyze research to help inform policy decisions.

"Bringing together people from diverse backgrounds with diverse perspectives could potentially help us get to a better place."

Homelessness is a crisis of many causes. Understanding the issue requires data, collaboration and analysis. SIEPR Director Mark Duggan and Research Scholar Jialu Streeter explain why SIEPR is well-positioned to convene experts and commit to research needed to inform policies addressing homelessness in California.


"California is not normal. It's not normal the level of homelessness we have here."

Twenty-five percent of unhoused people in America live in California, a state that claims 12 percent of the nation's population. SIEPR Research Scholar Jialu Streeter leads policymakers, advocates and scholars through a discussion of the housing regulations and policies that have contributed to – and attempted to ease – homelessness over the past several decades.

"If we can’t be honest and use data and common sense and our eyeballs, we are never going to solve this problem."

Mental illness, drug addiction and crime are another important dimension to the causes and consequences of homelessness. SIEPR's Jialu Streeter continues her exploration of homelessness in California with experts from the front lines of policy and experience.