Homelessness is a complex social problem that has proven difficult to solve in Los Angeles County, partly due to the lack of timely data that can be used for evidence-based policy development and evaluation. The past year has seen the emergence of camping enforcement laws that are not based on evidence of unhoused people’s needs and preferences and lack mechanisms to track housing trajectories. The Periodic Assessment of Trajectories of Housing, Homelessness, and Health Study (PATHS) attempts to fill this evidence gap by creating a representative, longitudinal cohort of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness (PEH) using mobile phone technology. The PATHS web-based survey platform was designed and piloted to address key challenges in surveying PEH, using a brief and highly focused questionnaire, trauma-informed design, and an innovative electronic gift card incentive delivery system. In this initial report, we report results for the 298 PEH who completed the baseline and Month 1 PATHS survey between December 2021 and July 2022.
Under Threat: Surveying Unhoused Angelenos in the Era of Camping Enforcement
Homelessness Policy Research Institute