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Are Homeless Families Connected to the Social Safety Net?

Martha R. Burt, Jill Khadduri, and Daniel Gubits


April 18, 2016

This research brief takes advantage of data collected for the Family Options Study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The study involves 2,282 homeless families with children who entered shelter between late 2010 and early 2012 in one of twelve communities across the country: Alameda County, CA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Bridgeport and New Haven, CT; Denver, CO; Honolulu, HI; Kansas City, MO; Louisville, KY; Minneapolis, MN; Phoenix, AZ; and Salt Lake City, UT. At the time they were recruited to participate in the study, each family had spent at least a week in an emergency shelter. The Family Options Study’s main purpose is to determine whether the offer of a particular type of housing program—a short-term rent subsidy, a long-term rent subsidy, or a stay in a facility-based transitional program with intensive services—helps a homeless family achieve housing stability and other positive outcomes for family well-being. To provide the strongest possible evidence of the effects of the housing and services interventions, the study uses an experimental research design with random assignment of families to each intervention. For more information, see Gubits et al., Family Options Study: Short Term Impacts of Housing and Service Interventions for Homeless Families, July 2015.

Focus Areas
North America