U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

In search of: Police responses to those experiencing homelessness

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,457,606)

The applicant proposes to conduct exploratory research to establish the complexity and breadth of public and private agencies, organizations, and institutions connected to police responses to people experiencing homelessness (PEH). Through the use of open-source data and complementary cases studies including social network data, the applicant will create a knowledgebase of promising police practices for responding to PEH. To achieve this the applicant proposes to conduct a multi method project organized around two goals: (1) developing an inventory and typology of policing responses to PEH, along with an evaluation framework to provide a jumping off point for developing an evidence-base, and (2) in-depth case studies of different responses to PEH. To reach goal 1, the applicant proposes two approaches. The first approach is using an open-source data collection method. This approach will examine any information that is lawfully and ethically obtainable that describes persons, locations, groups, events, or trends that deal with the law enforcement and PEH. This data will be collected via The Dark Crawler (TDC). The initial sites to seed TDC will be from departments that responded to the 2016 LEMAS survey. The team will seed all known websites, Facebook handles, and Twitter handles. The second approach is a review of legal challenges to police responses to PEH. A qualitative analysis technique will then be used to develop the inventory and typology of policing responses to PEH. To develop the evaluation framework, high-level, 1-page logic model diagrams will be developed based on research literature that looks at program evaluations in policing, community behavioral health services, community development, and homelessness.  For goal 2, site visits will be conducted where they focus on three approaches. The first approach is semi-structured interviews with all site partners. The second is program observations to create a modified grounded theory. The third is a social network analysis survey to measure the connectiveness of the different components of the response. These three approaches will supplement the national inventory and typology from goal 1 by providing a richer picture of how the different types of responses identified in typology work in practice. "Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR  200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: October 22, 2021