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Have our unsheltered homeless neighbors been engaged and offered housing?

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Over three-quarters of LA’s homeless residents are living unsheltered, but new research from the Homeless Research Data Collaborative found that although  90% of homeless survey respondents were interested in some form of housing, one-third reported no engagement with outreach services.

Researchers from UCLA, USC, and Akido Labs are using a first-of-its kind data platform to understand this question and others like it by engaging and learning from people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.


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Benjamin Henwood, PhD

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Randall Kuhn, PhD

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Karthik Murali, PhD

About Us

The Homeless Research Data Collaborative was launched by researchers from USC, UCLA, and Akido Labs to connect lived expertise, research, and data to better understand the stories and needs of people experiencing homelessness in our communities.

Our team designed a first-of-its-kind platform and worked with people with lived experience to build reciprocal relationships with individuals experiencing homelessness, via monthly online surveys.

This approach allows us to understand the complex needs and daily lives of people whom our communities and systems have failed. By connecting directly with actual people, in a timely way, we can identify patterns, pinpoint barriers, and rapidly mobilize solutions.

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PATHS Study Approach

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Canvassed unsheltered hotspots with trusted staff to enroll people experiencing homelessness 

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Prospective participants received a text message linking to study information and a prescreening survey

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If eligible, participants completed surveys in English or Spanish on a secure website accessed on a phone or computer 

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Upon completion, respondents were connected to a portal to receive an electronic gift card

PATHS Initial Report

Understanding Housing Needs

From late 2021 until July 2022, we have been asking asked participants in the study about their housing preferences. Evidence has shown that individuals experiencing homelessness are more likely to accept housing and services—and remained housed long-term—when those supports are aligned to the individuals’ unique needs.

Which of these housing or shelter options would you be interested in receiving?

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Group shelter


None of the above


Shared living situation with own room


Temporary stay in hotel/motel



Supportive housing

Out of 289 participants, 56% indicated that they would be interested in receiving supportive housing services.

Additional services that were of interest included temporary stay in hotel/motel (51%), shared living with a roommate (28%), other transitional living (23%), private room in a shelter with a shared bathroom (21%), safe camping (18%) and bridge housing (18%).

Only 2% were interested in congregate (group) shelter. 


10% of participants indicated they were not interested in any housing services that were listed on the survey.

Do you have any specific needs or requirements for housing/shelter?

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Handicap accessible


Particular neighborhood


Allowed to stay with pets


Storage for possessions



Allowed to stay with partner, spouse, or child

What are some issues that would keep you from moving into a shelter or housing?

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Negative interactions with staff




Poor cleanliness





Lack of privacy

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Learn More

This initiative would not be possible without the support of projects generously funded by the Homelessness Policy Research Institute.

Special thanks to the University of California Office of the President.

Get in Touch with our Steering Committee

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Benjamin Henwood, PhD

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Randall Kuhn, PhD

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Karthik Murali, PhD

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Get in touch
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