This is the final of a three-part series, Homelessness Research in Three Acts, highlighting brand new research on homelessness. Today's posting covers a recent HUD-funded study called Life After Transitional Housing for Homeless Families. The study examines whether transitional housing makes a difference in the lives of the families it serves and whether it is more effective for some homeless people than others. This study, conducted by Martha Burt of The Urban Institute, followed 179 families in 36 transitional housing (TH) programs within five communities for one year after leaving the program.
Here are some key findings:
- Longer stays in TH were associated with higher levels of educational attainment and employment at moveout and greater likelihood of continued employment during the follow-up period.
- Having a rent subsidy at TH departure was crucial for two outcomes: having one’s own place at TH exit and limiting movement of members in and out of the household.
- Most family “graduates” of transitional housing maintained housing stability for the first year after departure from transitional housing.
- At program graduation, 21 percent of mothers said they had been treated for alcohol abuse and 65 percent said they had been treated for drug abuse. A small percentage reported drinking or drug use in the year following transitional housing.
- Transitional housing programs contributed to family reunification - 42 percent of children not living with the mother when she entered TH rejoined the family during her stay.