Final Report: A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Sound Families Initiative

Jami Bodonyi, Laura Orlando, Briana Yancey, Renee Lamberjack, and Oma McClaughlin

September 2008

Launched in 2000, Sound Families was a multiyear, $40 million investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to triple the number of service-enriched housing units for homeless families in Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties in the state of Washington. Over the life of the initiative, 1,445 units were funded, the majority of which implemented a transitional housing model.   To evaluate the initiative, ten programs were selected as case study sites. Findings presented in this report draw on two types of evaluative data. The first type is basic data reported by case managers on all families entering and exiting a Sound Families unit from the start of the initiative in 2000 through June 30, 2007. These data provide a broad overview of outcomes on a large number of families and also allow the examination of findings on county and local levels. The second dataset is longitudinal, providing quantitative and qualitative data on 203 families in 10 programs from the three counties who were interviewed by evaluators while in the program, at exit, and at multiple points after exit. These longitudinal data allow fora deeper examination of families’ experiences and trends over time.

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