Family Permanent Supportive Housing: Preliminary Researchon Family Characteristics, Program Models, and Outcomes

Ellen L. Bassuk, Nicholas Huntington, Cheryl H. Amey, Kim Lampereur

February 2006

Homelessness in America is a tragic and persistent social problem. Since the early 1980’s, the face of homelessness has changed, with families forming an increasing portion of the overall homeless population. Estimates from the only nationally representative study to date (Burt et al., 1999) indicate that over 30% of the homeless population lives in families with children. Available resources have not kept pace with the growing numbers of families and children who are precariously housed or who are already on the streets. In the context of this dearth of research, we synthesize here evaluation results from thirteen supportive housing programs that serve families. Using the available data sets, this paper attempts to answer the following questions about family permanent supportive housing (FPSH): 1. What are the characteristics of the populations residing in these FPSH programs? 2. What are the characteristics of FPSH programs and how do models vary across programs? 3. What are the outcomes for participants in these programs? 4. Is there any evidence that particular constellations of program characteristics are associated with improved participant outcomes?

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