Profile Picture
Email Address
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Urban Studies and Planning
Urban, Community and Regional Planning
Research Projects
Organizational Units
The Dana and Andrew Stone Chair in Social Policy
• Dr. Culhane’s primary area of research is homelessness and assisted housing policy. His most recent research has focused on the premature aging of the adult homeless population on service systems use and costs. • Dr. Culhane co-directs the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy initiative, a MacArthur-initiated network to promote the development of integrated database systems (IDS) by states and localities for policy analysis and systems reform. Funding from the Annie E. Casey foundation is supporting a training and technical assistance effort for states and local governments working toward implementation of an IDS.
Research Interests
Homelessness, Housing Policy
Integrated Administrative Data Systems for Policy Research
Policy Analysis Research Methods
Policy and Program Design
Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 101
  • Publication
    Prevalence of Treated Behavioral Disorders among Adult Shelter Users: A Longitudinal Study
    (1998) Culhane, Dennis P; Averyt, June M; Hadley, Trevor R
    Of 27,638 homeless adults admitted to Philadelphia public shelters in the years 1990 through 1992, 20.1% received treatment for a mental health disorder, and 25.3% for a substance use disorder in the years 1985 through 1993. An additional 20.7% were identified as having untreated substance use problems. Overall, a total of 65.5% of adult shelter users were identified as ever having had a mental health or substance use problem, treated or untreated.
  • Publication
    The 2007 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress
    (2008-06-01) Khadduri, Jill; Culhane, Dennis P; Cortes, Alvaro; Buron, Larry; Poulin, Stephen
    The 2007 AHAR is the first AHAR based on an entire year of data about persons who use emergency and transitional housing programs. In addition, the report contains new information about the seasonal patterns of homelessness and long-term users of shelters and presents new appendices that provide community-level information on the number of homeless persons.
  • Publication
    Comment on James R. Cohen’s “Abandoned Housing: Exploring Lessons from Baltimore”
    (2001-01-01) Culhane, Dennis P.; Hillier, Amy E
    For most cities, the possibility of transforming unused property into community and city assets is as yet hypothetical. Fiscal constraints limit the amount of land acquisition, relocation, and demolition that cities can undertake. Private investors, unsure of which neighborhoods have a chance of becoming self-sustaining, are reluctant to take risks in untested markets. Cities need to create citywide planning strategies for land aggregation and neighborhood stabilization and to develop analyses of the risks and opportunities associated with redevelopment opportunities in specific markets. Research seems sorely needed. Although the policy world cannot and will not stand still waiting for academics to design the perfect study or to collect all the data to model the potential effects of various policy options and investments, analysis that can play a more immediately supportive role can and should be done now.
  • Publication
    Public Service Reductions Associated with Placement of Homeless Persons with Severe Mental Illness in Supportive Housing
    (2002-01-01) Culhane, Dennis P.; Hadley, Trevor; Metraux, Stephen
    This article assesses the impact of public investment in supportive housing for homeless persons with severe mental disabilities. Data on 4,679 people placed in such housing in New York City between 1989 and 1997 were merged with data on the utilization of public shelters, public and private hospitals, and correctional facilities. A series of matched controls who were homeless but not placed in housing were similarly tracked. Regression results reveal that persons placed in supportive housing experience marked reductions in shelter use, hospitalizations, length of stay per hospitalization, and time incarcerated. Before placement, homeless people with severe mental illness used about $40,451 per person per year in services (1999 dollars). Placement was associated with a reduction in services use of $16,281 per housing unit per year. Annual unit costs are estimated at $17,277, for a net cost of $995 per unit per year over the first two years.
  • Publication
    Child Welfare Involvement Among Children in Homeless Families
    (2004-10-01) Park, Jung Min; Metraux, Stephen; Broadbar, Gabriel; Culhane, Dennis P.
    An analysis of 8,251 homeless children in New York City found that 18% of them received child welfare services over the five-year period following their first shelter admission, and an additional 6% had a history of having received such services before their first shelter admission. Recurrent use of public shelters, exposure to domestic violence, older age at first episode of homelessness, and larger number of children in a household were associated with an increased risk of child welfare involvement. The high rate of crossover between homelessness and the child welfare system suggests the need for service coordination for children in homeless families.
  • Publication
    Where Homeless Families Come From: Toward a Prevention-Oriented Approach in Washington, DC
    (1997-11-01) Culhane, Dennis P; Lee, Chang-Moo
    The District of Columbia shelter system currently operates on a continuum of care model that assumes all or most people with housing emergencies should enter shelters and move progressively through a series of fully subsidized residential programs, then on to independence. The federal government encouraged the development of this model, and it is one that predominates nationally. This approach, however, is inflexible and has relatively high fixed unit costs because it assumes that all homeless people, regardless of the nature of their housing emergency, should enter a system of supervised residential programs. In fact, not all segments of the homeless population require the extensive social services necessary to help chronically homeless persons. States and localities recognize that not everyone should enter the shelter system, and have increasingly looked to alternative methods to divert families and individuals from shelters. Typically they combine rigorous needs assessment with emergency housing assistance-such as time-limited rent subsidies, rent arrears assistance, relocation grants, utility assistance, or loans and often supplement such financial assistance with case management and/or referral to community programs. Homelessness prevention programs target the nearly homeless - those who with assistance can overcome an acute housing crisis and avoid a shelter stay - and generally are delivered in a neighborhood context. Unfortunately, federal funds for homelessness cannot currently be used for such activity.
  • Publication
    Help in Time: An Evaluation of Philadelphia's Community-Based Homelessness Prevention Program
    (1999-12-01) Wong, Yin-Ling I; Culhane, Dennis P; Metraux, Stephen; Koppel, Meg; Hillier, Amy; Eldridge, David E; Lee, Helen R
    This report provides an evaluation of Philadelphia's neighborhood-based homelessness prevention initiative. Results indicate that nearly all households served do not become homeless. But it is unclear if households would have become homeless had they not been served. Recommendations are made for targeting prevention interventions to families requesting shelter.
  • Publication
    Single Room Housing Won't End Homelessness
    (1990-03-14) Culhane, Dennis P
    SROs might be the solution for some people, including the older and disabled homeless, but many others, including the masses of near-homeless (and soon-to-be-homeless) await a more imaginative solution that gives them a chance at stable household formation, adequately compensated labor, social protection from disability and unemployment, and that supports more diverse and mixed household arrangements than is represented in the proposed SRO solution.
  • Publication
    Making Homelessness Programs Accountable to Consumers, Funders and the Public
    (1997) Culhane, Dennis P; Eldridge, David; Rosenheck, Robert; Wilkins, Carol
    This paper discusses how different types of performance measurement can be used to improve the accountability of homeless programs to consumers, funders and to the public. A distinction is made between the kinds of data used in formal research projects and data that can be practically obtained in a practice setting. Consumer outcomes are discussed in terms of accountability to consumers, program outcomes in terms of accountability to funders, and systems outcomes in terms of accountability to the public. Cost-benefit analyses are also discussed as providing another critical dimension of accountability to funders and the public.
  • Publication
    Rearranging the Deck Chairs or Reallocating the Lifeboats?: Homelessness Assistance and Its Alternatives
    (2008-01-01) Culhane, Dennis P; Metraux, Stephen
    Problem: At present, homelessness in the United States is primarily addressed by providing emergency and transitional shelter facilities. These programs do not directly address the causes of homelessness, and residents are exposed to victimization and trauma during stays. We need an alternative that is more humane, as well as more efficient and effective at achieving outcomes. Purpose: This article uses research on homelessness to devise alternative forms of emergency assistance that could reduce the prevalence and/or duration of episodes of homelessness and much of the need for emergency shelter. Methods: We review analyses of shelter utilization patterns to identify subgroups of homeless single adults and families with minor children, and propose alternative program models aimed at the particular situations of each of these subgroups. Results and conclusions: We argue that it would be both more efficient and more humane to reallocate resources currently devoted to shelters. We propose the development of community-based programs that instead would focus on helping those with housing emergencies to remain housed or to quickly return to housing, and be served by mainstream social welfare programs. We advocate providing shelter on a limited basis and reserving transitional housing for individuals recently discharged from institutions. Chronic homelessness should be addressed by permanent supportive housing.