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Family Options Study: Three-Year Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families

Daniel Gubits, Marybeth Shinn, Michelle Wood, Stephen Bell, Samuel Dastrup, Claudia D. Solari, Scott R. Brown, Debi McInnis, Tom McCall, Utsav Kattel.


November 16, 2016

Family Options Study - Final Report CoverThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development undertook the Family Options Study to gather evidence about which types of housing and services programs work best for homeless families. The study examines the effects of three types of programs—permanent housing subsidies, community-based rapid re-housing, and project-based transitional housing—compared with one another and with the usual care available to homeless families. From September 2010 through January 2012, 2,282 families enrolled in the Family Options Study across 12 communities after spending at least 7 days in emergency shelter.

After providing informed consent and completing a baseline survey, the families were randomly assigned to one of four groups:
(1) SUB, in which families have priority access to a permanent housing subsidy;
(2) CBRR, in which families have priority access to community-based rapid re-housing;
(3) PBTH, in which families have priority access to project-based transitional housing; or
(4) UC, in which families have access to usual care homeless and housing assistance but do not have priority access to any particular program.
Families were free to take up the program to which they were offered priority access or to make other arrangements, so each group used a mix of programs. This report presents the analysis of the 3-year impacts of the three interventions in five domains related to family well-being: (1) housing stability,
(2) family preservation,
(3) adult well-being,
(4) child well-being, and
(5) self-sufficiency. The report also describes the relative costs of the interventions based on program use during the 3-year follow-up period.