A major focus of the NSHAPC mail survey was administrators’ perceptions of homeless clients’ needs.18 The survey asked about 59 distinct service needs ranging from food, clothing, and housing to employment and health care (see Table 7 for a complete listing). The basic question asked of all respondents to the mail survey was: Please consider your current clients in (your program) who are currently homeless. How many of these clients need assistance from you or others in obtaining (e.g. health assessment) services? Based on the responses to these questions, one can determine the share of programs with high levels of need for the various services identified in the survey.
It is very important to keep in mind that these findings are based on administrators’ perceptions, and are not derived from in-depth needs assessments or even self-reports by homeless clients themselves.19 This distinction is important because the answers given by program staff will reflect only what they think they know about their clients, and this can be quite inaccurate. The administrator of a soup kitchen, for example, may know about clients’ food needs, but he/she may not know what share of them need mental health services or even whether or not they are homeless.
|Service Need||Faith-Based Non-profit||Secular Non-profit||Government||Service Need||Faith-Based Non-profit||Secular Non-profit||Government|
|Food||75.1||68.2||53.7||General Health Care/HIV|
|Life Skills Services||Primary care||32.5||46.8||45.7|
|Money mgmt||55.1||53.9||50.4||Acute care||7.1||13.3||7.8|
|Household skills||32.7||35.2||32.5||Prenatal care||6.6||7.4||8.5|
|Parenting training||28.1||29.4||21.1||HIV treatment||3.1||7.8||4.0|
|Case Management Services||HIV prevention||25.8||35.9||26.6|
|Needs assmt||58.4||77.2||64.8||TB test||23.3||27.8||25.9|
|Ind. Goals/Srv Plans||54.3||75.5||60.5||TB treatment||4.8||5.9||6.7|
|Housing Services||Health education||34.2||43.7||35.8|
|Locate housing||49.2||64.3||53.5||Substance Abuse Services|
|Apply for housing||31.0||46.2||37.5||Alcohol/drug testing||21.4||19.8||20.0|
|Financial Assistance||42.1||57.7||55.7||Clin alcohol/drug assmt||20.6||26.2||22.8|
|Education Services||Outpatient treatment||8.5||14.4||21.9|
|School liaison||9.9||15.5||10.9||Residual treatment||6.4||9.1||5.4|
|Other child ed||7.7||11.9||11.9||Substance abuse ed||27.6||32.5||31.2|
|Tutoring||8.5||9.7||10.5||Mental Health Services|
|Family literacy||5.5||6.0||4.0||Crisis intervention||10.4||27.4||22.3|
|Basic literacy||6.1||6.8||4.9||Outpatient therapy||11.2||26.2||23.4|
|Adult education||17.2||18.0||16.4||Inpatient/res treatment||4.7||10.1||8.3|
|Employment Services||Peer group||14.5||24.3||15.7|
|Job skills assmt||42.4||49.7||51.6||MH education||15.7||25.3||29.2|
|Job search skills||39.3||41.9||40.6||Other Services|
|Job referral||43.1||47.0||47.1||Child care||17.7||26.5||11.6|
|Sp. Job training||25.7||28.5||25.8||DV counseling||8.3||21.9||9.8|
|Vocational rehab||17.0||18.5||18.1||Legal assistance||7.8||20.3||11.9|
|Vol job placement||9.7||11.1||6.2||Veterans services||3.6||4.2||10.0|
Source: Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data. Data represent "an average day in February 1996."
18. Questions and findings from this section of the survey are limited to homeless clients.
19. The NSHAPC client survey did ask respondents to identify their top three service needs, but they were not asked about detailed needs separately. Also, the NSHAPC public-use client data cannot be analyzed by agency type (faith-based, secular non-profit, etc.).