Outcome Measurement in Homeless Systems of Care

Wendy P. Crook, Ronald L. Mullis, Thomas A. Cornille and Ann K. Mullis

November 2005

Public and private interest groups are pressured to demonstrate that investments of resources, time, and effort have resulted in improvements in the lives of those experiencing homelessness and/or reductions in the scope of homelessness. Measuring desired outcomes can provide information to support accountability efforts. This article reviews the literature on outcome measurement in homeless systems of care, grounded in a conceptual model consisting of three elements: continuums of care, service programs, and clients. This review did not reveal the existence of any single comprehensive outcome measurement instrument that could be used for the homeless system of care. System-level outcomes include cost savings, reduction of access barriers, and organizational linkages. Service program-level outcome measurement is typically based on the aggregation of client-level outcomes. At the client-level of measurement, several instruments were identified in the literature that have potential for providing the basis of outcome measurement.

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