Gregg Colburn and Clayton Page AldernFeb 7, 2022
Homelessness is a Housing Problem
How Structural Factors Explain U.S. Patterns
University of California Press 2022
In Homelessness is a Housing Problem: How Structural Factors Explain U.S. Patterns (U California Press, 2022), Gregg Colburn and Clayton Page Aldern seek to explain the substantial regional variation in rates of homelessness in cities across the United States. In a departure from many analytical approaches, Colburn and Aldern shift their focus from the individual experiencing homelessness to the metropolitan area. Using accessible statistical analysis, they test a range of conventional beliefs about what drives the prevalence of homelessness in a given city-including mental illness, drug use, poverty, weather, generosity of public assistance, and low-income mobility-and find that none explain the regional variation observed across the country. Instead, housing market conditions, such as the cost and availability of rental housing, offer a far more convincing account. With rigor and clarity, Homelessness is a Housing Problem explores U.S. cities' diverse experiences with housing precarity and offers policy solutions for unique regional contexts.
Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.