Our Projects

BHHI experts lead many projects, including NIH-funded research, program evaluations, epidemiological surveys, and implementation science to improve practice. Below are some representative examples of our recent projects.

State Study

At the request of California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, BHHI is launching a statewide survey to improve our understanding of the immediate precipitants of homelessness and barriers to homelessness exits among people experiencing homelessness in California. We will conduct the survey in eight representative counties. The project will include administered surveys with thousands of Californians experiencing homelessness and robust in-depth interviews to inform understanding of potential solutions.

Oakland Shallow Subsidy Pilot

The Oakland Shallow Subsidy pilot study is a targeted prevention effort in partnership with the Oakland Mayor’s Office and Bay Area Community Services (BACS). This longitudinal study aims to determine the impact of shallow subsidies on housing stability and homelessness prevention. Our research seeks to determine whether these subsidies are effective at reducing the incidence of homelessness as a targeted prevention intervention compared to one-time resources, and whether they can be a tool for reducing racial disparities in those who become homeless.

This pilot study targets renters who have been previously homeless and are now at-risk for homelessness with an innovative model that provides a tailored subsidy designed to reduce rent burden by 25%. To continue our efforts in affirmatively addressing racial disparities and injustice, this pilot targets renters living in Oakland zip codes with the highest poverty, deprivation, and community stressor indices. Additional eligibility requirements include total household income at or below 30% Area Median Income (AMI) and at least 50% of monthly income paid to rent. The subsidies have both a “floor” and a “ceiling”—overall rent burdens will not drop below 50% of monthly income, and subsidies will be capped at $800 per month.

Testing and Vaccinations

BHHI has played a leading role in COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, providing direct services and developing, testing, and disseminating standards of care. BHHI partnered with local organizations in the summer and fall of 2020 to conduct large scale testing in unsheltered populations in two districts in San Francisco. In winter 2021, BHHI responded to a request from the State testing task force to develop, implement, and disseminate rapid testing in homeless shelters. We provided twice weekly rapid COVID-19 testing in all homeless shelters in San Francisco. Using implementation science practices, we evaluated and disseminated a model nationally. Starting in March 2021, we developed, implemented, and disseminated models for COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals who are unsheltered and living in SRO housing. Using local, low barrier vaccination sites combined with a novel community-led mobile vaccinations, we provided over 2,500 vaccines and developed and disseminated a mobile vaccine strategy.

Vehicular Homelessness

In partnership with the City of Oakland, BHHI is conducting in-depth interviews and ethnography to better understand the challenges facing Oakland residents who live in their vehicles to inform policy and practice.

Earned Income Tax Credit Survey

From August 2020 to April 2021, BHHI partnered with an existing study of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) households, conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley. This project included an administered questionnaire to 500 low-income families to better understand their experiences accessing the EITC benefit. The project contained an open-ended module that captured participants’ knowledge of the EITC, experiences accessing the program, the administrative burdens that presented barriers to program uptake, and suggestions for improvement. BHHI contributed a section on housing; BHHI staff participated in data collection. As part of a larger effort to understand barriers to EITC access for eligible households, BHHI faculty and staff will examine the housing experiences of EITC eligible households before and during the pandemic.

Home Safe Evaluation

The California Department of Social Services requested that BHHI conduct an evaluation of its Home Safe program, which offers services to county Adult Protective Services clients who are at imminent risk of homelessness. BHHI’s evaluation includes both an analysis of the available data on housing outcomes for Home Safe clients and a qualitative assessment of the program drawn from extensive interviews with case managers. BHHI recently completed its interim evaluation of the Home Safe program.


Since 2013, Dr. Kushel has led the Health Outcomes of People Experiencing Homelessness in Older Middle Age (HOPE HOME) project, a longitudinal study involving hundreds of older adults (age 50 and over) experiencing homelessness. Based in Oakland, the study includes regular physical and behavioral health exams, as well as qualitative interviews with participants. Because of the study’s longevity and flexibility, it has produced numerous findings related to topics such as risk factors for falls, emergency department utilization, and residential patterns for older homeless adults.