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Summaries of RCT Grants

Evaluation of Tacoma Housing Authority’s College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), which provides rental assistance vouchers to homeless or “near-homeless” community college students

This project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Tacoma Housing Authority’s College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP).

Grant Recipient: Temple University

Term: 2018 –2023

Principal Investigator: Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D., Temple University

Funding: Up to $331,050

Summary: This project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Tacoma Housing Authority’s College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). CHAP is financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Moving to Work program and provides rental assistance vouchers to currently enrolled Tacoma Community College students who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness (“near-homeless”).

The prior evidence on CHAP, while not yet demonstrated in an RCT, suggests it has potential to improve academic completion outcomes among a targeted population of homeless and near-homeless students. Substantiating this evidence with a well-conducted and relatively low-cost RCT will be of value given the existence of a dedicated funding stream for the program and the expressed interest of other housing authorities to implement similar programs, thus demonstrating a viable path to scale up if proven effective.

Under this project, the study will randomly assign approximately 300 near-homeless students via lottery to receive an offer of a CHAP voucher or to a control group not offered a voucher. The researchers will collect and analyze administrative data to ascertain CHAP’s effects on academic completion, homelessness, healthcare utilization, and, if initial effects on these outcomes are sufficiently promising, on employment and earnings under an optional extension.

The study’s pre-analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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