Homelessness is a housing problem: A community conversation with Gregg Colburn

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In Homelessness Is a Housing Problem, Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate at the University of Washington, and data scientist Clayton Page Aldern test a range of conventional beliefs about what drives the prevalence of homelessness in a given city—including mental illness, drug use, poverty, weather, and public assistance—and find that none explain why, for example, rates are so much higher in Seattle than in Chicago. Instead, they discover that housing market conditions, such as the cost and availability of housing, offer a more convincing explanation.

Gregg Colburn is an assistant professor of real estate at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments and co-author of the book, Homelessness Is a Housing Problem (University of California Press, 2022). Colburn is a member of the National Alliance to End Homelessness Research Council and is co-faculty lead of the University of Washington’s Homelessness Research Initiative.