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Abt Paper on Homeless Families Wins Award From APPAM

Rockville, Md.  –  A new paper from Abt researchers and partner organizations, “What Interventions Work Best for Families Who Experience Homelessness?” won the Vernon Memorial Prize recognizing excellence in research from the Association of Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM). Written by Abt’s Daniel Gubits, Michelle Wood, Scott Brown and Samuel Dastrup, along with colleagues from Vanderbilt University and Westat, the article is a state-of-the-art analysis on the issue of families experiencing homelessness. 

Gubits and his colleagues reported findings from the Family Options Study, which analyzed three different interventions—long-term subsidies, short-term subsidies and transitional housing—against usual care, that were offered to families recruited from homeless shelters in 12 sites. The authors found that, compared to usual care, long-term subsidies:

  • Provided a greater reduction in homelessness,
  • Increased housing security,
  • Improved food security and
  • Improved overall family well-being by reducing intimate partner violence, adult psychological distress, parent-child separation and absenteeism and behavior problems for children.

Long-term subsidies typically require a 9 percent increase in spending over three years compared to usual care. The study also found that short-term subsidies offer similar results to those offered by usual care, but at a 9 percent lower cost over three years.

”The study findings reinforce the idea that homelessness for families is largely a housing affordability problem and point to the importance of affordable housing for people with extremely low incomes,” said Wood in an APPAM podcast. “The study shows that if long-term rent subsidies are not available, short-term rent assistance or rapid rehousing costs less than the usual care available and has about the same effects.” 

Each year, APPAM awards the Vernon Memorial Prize to a research paper published in the current volume of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM). “What Interventions Work Best for Families Who Experience Homelessness?” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of JPAM.

Read the article here, and listen to Gubits and Wood discuss their findings here.

About Abt Global
Abt Global is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security.  Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.

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