Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Graduate School


Public Policy and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Rajeev Darolia


The United States’ federal government funds homeless services provided at the local level through the McKinney-Vento Act, encouraging collaboration among providers. This dissertation studies three aspects of homelessness: merging of local planning bodies, identification of homeless students, and the relationship between experiencing homelessness in high school and long-term educational outcomes.

The first chapter studies the effect of merging Continuums of Care (CoCs), local planning bodies for homeless services. While merging brings organizations into the same network and could make use of economies of scale, it brings service provision to a less-local level, taking away responsiveness to the community and inter-jurisdictional competition. I find merging actually reduces service provision and increases homelessness, using a difference-in-differences design in an event study context.

The second chapter explores the effect of intergovernmental grants on the identification of homeless students. I estimate for each state and year the percentile (threshold) where there is the greatest discontinuity in a district’s likelihood of receiving a homeless assistance grant. I find grants do not explain the increase in student homelessness, using the thresholds in a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. The findings show that worsening economic conditions likely explain the increase and policy should address this increase in housing insecurity. I also find the grants do not increase the share of homeless students scoring proficient on state tests.

The third chapter estimates how experiencing homelessness in high school relates to rates of high school graduation and college-going. I find that students have lower graduation rates even after adjusting for observable characteristics. However, the magnitude differs depending on how one considers past experiences of homelessness.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)