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David Lucas, Christopher Boudreaux
This chapter presents a case study of the United States’ federally led mission to eradicate homelessness, focusing on the early twenty-first century.
We document the emergence of a federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness in the wake of the Great Recession, paying special attention to the role of “evidence-based” solutions and state leadership in this effort. We then review the disparities between the stated goals and realized results. Despite a doubling of federal funding, broad cross-sector collaboration, and a successful imposition of government-preferred practices in the homeless services industry, none of the four goals defined in 2010 were completed over the next decade.
We assess these lackluster results and elicit new insights for other “moonshot” missions aimed at grand societal challenges.