Homelessness Social-Impact Bonds in the United States




Johnson, Christy Ariel

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Social-impact bonds (SIBs) introduce a new strategy with which to fight homelessness through a contractual partnership between nonprofits, socially-minded investors, and governmental agencies in a growing number of American cities. Due to limited political willpower and public funding, some nonprofits have used SIBs to leverage support for social programs. I explore efforts to eradicate homelessness in five initiatives spread across the country through SIBs located in Massachusetts, California (Santa Clara and Los Angeles), Colorado, and Utah. An analysis of homing retention, governmental savings, and investor returns details the impact of the three key players in SIBs. I explain how strong intermediaries and political will can make SIBs a viable tool with which to improve the lives of the American homeless population with lasting social outcomes. Last, I discuss the future of SIBs and how they can become a mainstream financial tool through decreased transaction costs, standard data-sharing agreements, alternatives to randomized control trials (RCTs), federal government participation, congressional legislation support, and aggregating socially motivated investors.



Social-impact bonds, Homelessness, Nonprofits, Social investing


Johnson, C. A. (2019). <i>Homelessness social-impact bonds in the United States</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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