Review of the Tools and Techniques Used to Prioritize Clients for Limited Housing Resources

In many regions around the country, the demand for affordable housing is greater than the supply. Wait lists have traditionally been the method of choice for determining who is “up next” to get housing. In order to improve their chances, people in need of housing are often encouraged by staff at multi-service agencies to get their names on as many lists as they can. The result is a myriad of decentralized and unwieldy lists. The individual or family that is next in line may not be the best suited for the unit that is available nor may they have as great of a demonstrated need for housing assistance as others further down the list. This paper provides a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the primary resource allocation strategies that are currently in place in the US.

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