Tents housing the homeless

Policymakers across the country who want to tackle their own homeless problems can learn from the efforts made by the city of Los Angeles, says USC expert Brenda Wiewel. (Photo/iStock)


$1 million from Conrad N. Hilton Foundation furthers research to end homelessness

The Homelessness Policy Research Institute based at USC Price drives work to end homelessness in Los Angeles County by convening top researchers and policymakers

July 19, 2018 USC Price staff

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has granted $1 million to continue its support of the Homelessness Policy Research Institute (HPRI), a USC-led, countywide effort to foster collaboration among top researchers and policymakers working to end homelessness in Los Angeles County.

Launched in 2017 at the USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation in partnership with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Home for Good Initiative and with a planning grant from the Hilton Foundation, the institute is the first in California especially dedicated to ensuring homelessness research that informs policy decisions.

The research institute begins its work at a time when homelessness has reached a critical point in Los Angeles County. After seeing homelessness numbers increase in recent years, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition HHH and Measure H, two funding measures that will direct billions of dollars toward solving homelessness over the next 10 years. To ensure these resources and other programs are effective in ending homelessness, the institute’s research partners will evaluate the success of efforts thus far and develop recommendations for future policies and programs.

Homelessness policy: well-regarded researchers collaborate

The Homelessness Policy Research Institute committee of highly regarded researchers represent public and private institutions, including RAND Corp., the Economic Roundtable, USC, UCLA and others. The group is co-directed by the California Policy Lab, which pairs experts from UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley with policymakers and generates scientific evidence that solves California’s most urgent problems, including homelessness. The coalition meets monthly to discuss current and upcoming research projects, identify opportunities for collaboration and brainstorm possible research approaches to top policy issues.

By leveraging the resources available to us with robust research and smart policymaking, Los Angeles County is poised to make an historic impact.

Andrea Iloulian

“We’re thrilled to support HPRI’s groundbreaking work to ensure [that] actionable research on homelessness is being implemented to its full capacity,” said Andrea Iloulian, senior program officer of domestic programs at the Hilton Foundation. “By leveraging the resources available to us with robust research and smart policymaking, Los Angeles County is poised to make an historic impact.”

Quarterly seminars on homelessness policy

With additional support from the Hilton Foundation, the institute will host quarterly seminars to connect researchers and policymakers, conduct data analysis and research translation for actionable use, and dispense research findings to community partners.

Institute members also regularly collaborate with program and policy staff at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Earlier this year, the institute worked with the authority to develop a request for proposals to evaluate Solid Ground Van Nuys, a new family homelessness prevention program funded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office. The institute also established a committee on racial equity issues related to homelessness, which works with the authority’s Ad Hoc Committee on Black People Experiencing Homelessness. California Policy Lab, an institute member, also recently presented initial findings on homelessness prevention that the authority is working into its prevention screening program design.

Gary Painter, director of the institute and the USC Price Center for Social Innovation, said the foundation’s leadership and support are welcome. “This grant is a significant investment in enabling HPRI to catalyze collaborative, actionable and policy-relevant research to help end homelessness across the Los Angeles region,” he said.