The 1996 National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients: A Comparison of Faith-Based and Secular Non-Profit Programs. Referrals to and from Programs

03/19/2002

The CATI survey asked respondents where most of their clients came from — referrals from other programs, self-referral, outreach by program staff, or other.21 Respondents were also allowed to report that there was no single source from which most of their clients came.  Responses to this question are reported in Table 9 for faith-based programs and Table 10 for secular non-profits, and in Figure 5 for both types of sponsoring agencies.  Over one-third of non-profits (both faith-based and secular) did not identify a specific client source, either because there was no single source from which most of their clients came, because there was some “other” source, or because they simply did not answer the question.

 

Table 9:
Client Referrals Among Faith-Based Non-profit Programs
  Total Number of programs From other program Self-referred Program staff outreach Other source or missing
All Program Types 12,599 (100%) 26.0 34.3 4.2 35.4
  Housing 3,783 (100%) 40.4 27.2 2.1 30.3
    Emergency Shelter 1,520 (100%) 28.4 34.9 0.9 35.7
    Transitional Shelter 1,181 (100%) 58.7 10.5 3.6 27.2
    Permanent Housing 205 (100%) 49.0 17.1 10.9 23.0
    Distribute Vouchers 743 (100%) 24.2 45.6 0.0 30.2
    Housing For Vouchers 134 (100%) 91.2 2.3 0.0 6.5
  Food 6,907 (100%) 20.5 39.1 3.9 36.6
    Soup Kitchen/Meal Distribution 2,131 (100%) 10.4 54.9 3.9 30.7
    Food Pantry 4,628 (100%) 25.3 32.2 2.5 40.0
    Mobile Food 148 (100%) 12.1 25.7 47.6 14.6
  Health 131 (100%) 22.6 14.2 11.0 52.1
    Physical Health Care .   . . . .
    Mental Health .   . . . .
    Alcohol or Drug .   . . . .
    HIV/AIDS .   . . . .
  Other 1,778 (100%) 17.3 32.5 9.7 40.4
    Outreach 505 (100%) 21.9 16.1 28.5 33.5
    Drop-In Center 450 (100%) 15.1 40.8 2.5 41.7
    Financial/Housing Assist. 277 (100%) 12.7 42.6 0.0 44.7
    Other 546 (100%) 17.3 35.9 3.3 43.5

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."


Table 10:
Client Referrals Among Secular Non-profit Programs

  Total Number of programs From other program Self-referred Program staff outreach Other source or missing
All Program Types 18,751 (100%) 35.2 23.0 7.7 34.1
  Housing 8,664 (100%) 46.3 17.4 3.9 32.5
    Emergency Shelter 3,480 (100%) 39.4 19.4 2.3 38.9
    Transitional Shelter 2,535 (100%) 57.3 12.5 4.6 25.6
    Permanent Housing 980 (100%) 44.1 9.5 6.8 39.6
    Distribute Vouchers 1,361 (100%) 41.1 27.5 3.5 27.9
    Housing For Vouchers 307 (100%) 63.1 13.9 8.5 14.4
  Food 4,858 (100%) 28.6 31.2 6.8 33.4
    Soup Kitchen/Meal Distribution 1,057 (100%) 17.0 46.8 5.5 30.7
    Food Pantry 3,560 (100%) 31.9 27.9 6.1 34.0
    Mobile Food 241 (100%) 31.0 10.1 22.7 36.1
  Health 1,034 (100%) 29.6 21.9 13.3 35.2
    Physical Health Care 215 (100%) 14.7 46.9 11.7 26.8
    Mental Health 250 (100%) 43.5 18.6 15.4 22.5
    Alcohol or Drug 363 (100%) 28.3 17.1 10.8 43.8
    HIV/AIDS 206 (100%) 30.4 8.3 17.0 44.3
  Other 4,195 (100%) 21.3 25.7 15.3 37.8
    Outreach 1,922 (100%) 22.0 19.2 26.9 32.0
    Drop-In Center 1,083 (100%) 17.8 27.6 6.8 47.7
    Financial/Housing Assist. 452 (100%) 12.6 40.5 2.9 44.0
    Other 738 (100%) 29.7 30.7 5.1 34.5

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."


Figure 5:
Referral Sources Among Faith-Based and Secular Non-Profits

Figure 5a: Referral Sources Among Faith-Based and Secular Non-Profits

Figure 5b: Referral Sources Among Faith-Based and Secular Non-Profits

The largest source of clients for faith-based programs is self-referrals.

Some interesting patterns emerge from the remaining respondents who did identify how clients came to their programs.  For programs of all types, the data show that the largest source of clients for faith-based programs is self-referral (34 percent identify this as their largest source) but for secular non-profits the most common source is through another program (35 percent report this as the largest source).  There are also some interesting differences among specific types of programs.  In general, for both faith-based and secular non-profits, clients of housing programs are more likely to come to the program through referral from another program while clients of food programs are more likely to come to the program on their own (self-refer).  The third main route to programs and services — outreach by program staff — seems to be a significant source of clients of mobile food and (not surprisingly) outreach programs.  While this is true of both faith-based and secular non-profits, mobile food programs run by faith-based organizations are much more likely to receive clients through outreach and self-referral (48 and 26 percent, respectively) than are mobile food programs run by secular non-profits (23 and 10 percent, respectively).

Clients of homeless assistance programs in rural areas are much more likely to self-refer.

Looking at client sources for faith-based and secular non-profits by urban-rural location and region of the country shows very similar patterns.  There are some clear differences by geography, with clients of rural programs being much more likely than those of central city and especially suburban programs to self-refer, but the differences between faith-based and secular providers are fairly consistent across these geographical patterns.  The same is generally true of regional differences.  It is interesting to note, however, that differences in self-referrals between faith-based and secular providers are especially large in the northeast and south.  Only 18 percent of administrators of secular non-profit programs in the south identify self-referrals as their main source of clients, compared to 33 percent of administrators of faith-based programs.

In addition to sources of clients, administrators of housing programs were asked where their clients went after leaving the program.  More specifically, the NSHAPC mail survey asked administrators of housing programs the following question: “we are interested in where your families go when they are no longer served by your [emergency shelter] program.  For what percentage of your families do you know this information?  For these families, please estimate the percent that went to the following destinations on departure from your [emergency shelter] program last year: the streets or other outside locations, other emergency shelter, transitional housing, family or friend’s housing, private unsubsidized housing, government subsidized housing (e.g., Section 8, Public or Rural Rental Housing), special permanent housing for the disabled (mentally ill, developmentally disadvantaged, HIV), other group home, hospital, jail or prison, and other (specify).”  Separate but similarly worded questions were asked for unaccompanied clients.22  The answers to these questions are reported in Table 11 for all types of homeless assistance housing programs combined, Table 12 for emergency shelters alone, and Table 13 for transitional housing programs alone.  Administrators of housing programs tend to know where their clients go after leaving their program.  On average, administrators of faith-based housing programs know the destinations of about 75 percent of their unaccompanied individual clients and 90 percent of their family clients.  The corresponding figures for secular non-profit housing programs are 86 percent of unaccompanied individuals and 90 percent of families.  The top three destinations are the same irrespective of whether the client is alone or with children and whether the program is run by a faith-based or secular non-profit agency.  These are (1) a family or friend’s housing, (2) private unsubsidized housing, and (3) government subsidized housing.  In general, clients of secular non-profits, especially family clients, are more likely than other housing clients go to one of these places.  For example, 75 percent of families in secular non-profit housing programs (with known destinations) go to one of these destinations, compared to 66 percent of family clients of faith-based housing programs, and only 57 percent of individual clients of secular non-profit housing programs.  Over one-third of family clients of secular non-profits leave the program for government subsidized housing (the largest single destination of these clients), but a similarly large share (29 percent) of family clients of faith-based housing go here as well.  The second most common destination of families for both faith-based and secular providers is private unsubsidized housing, with about 20 to 22 percent of families going here.  Not surprisingly given the priority given to families, individual clients of both faith-based and secular housing programs are much less likely than families to go into government subsidized housing (13-14 percent versus 29-34 percent).

Table 11:
Client Referrals from Faith-Based and Secular Non-profit Programs
  Percentage of Clients Moving on to…
Programs Serving Individuals Programs Serving Families
Faith-Based Nonprofit Secular Nonprofit Faith-Based Nonprofit Secular Nonprofit
median percentage known 75 86 90 90
The streets or other outside locations 12.7 8.7 8.0 4.3
Other emergency shelter 11.6 8.9 9.6 6.8
Transitional housing 9.7 7.3 10.1 6.6
Family or friend's housing 17.6 25.1 17.1 19.7
Private unsubsidized housing 21.6 17.7 20.0 22.4
Government subsidized housing 13.0 14.3 29.0 33.6
Special permanent housing for disabled 3.4 3.7 2.1 1.8
Other group home 2.5 3.0 1.8 0.7
Hospital 1.4 2.0 0.5 1.0
Jail or prison 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.7
Other 3.5 8.1 1.2 5.2

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."

Note:  Because some programs reported referrals for more than 100% of clients, columns may not sum to 100%.


Table 12:
Client Referrals from Faith-Based and Secular Non-profit Emergency Shelter Programs
  Percentage of Clients Moving on to…
Programs Serving Individuals Programs Serving Families
Faith-Based Nonprofit Secular Nonprofit Faith-Based Nonprofit Secular Nonprofit
median percentage known 74 80 80 84
The streets or other outside locations 15.7 7.8 12.0 5.0
Other emergency shelter 13.8 12.1 15.1 10.1
Transitional housing 11.2 6.4 14.1 8.4
Family or friend's housing 15.5 30.7 16.2 21.7
Private unsubsidized housing 17.6 17.0 13.2 20.1
Government subsidized housing 11.5 10.3 23.5 30.1
Special permanent housing for disabled 3.2 1.5 1.7 0.9
Other group home 2.6 2.7 2.0 0.9
Hospital 1.2 1.8 0.7 0.8
Jail or prison 1.9 2.0 1.1 0.9
Other 3.3 8.0 1.1 5.2

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."

Note:  Because some programs reported referrals for more than 100% of clients, columns may not sum to 100%.


Table 13:
Client Referrals from Faith-Based and Secular Non-profit Transitional Housing Programs
  Percentage of Clients Moving on to…
Programs Serving Individuals Programs Serving Families
Faith-Based Nonprofit Secular Nonprofit Faith-Based Nonprofit Secular Nonprofit
median percentage known 80 90 90 97.5
The streets or other outside locations 8.5 10.8 2.6 3.6
Other emergency shelter 9.0 4.9 1.7 2.0
Transitional housing 7.4 9.6 4.7 4.5
Family or friend's housing 22.4 20.1 18.9 16.1
Private unsubsidized housing 29.3 20.2 29.9 27.1
Government subsidized housing 14.3 18.0 35.7 40.9
Special permanent housing for disabled 2.8 5.8 2.5 2.5
Other group home 1.8 3.7 1.4 0.3
Hospital 1.0 1.8 0.3 0.5
Jail or prison 4.8 1.0 0.8 0.1
Other 1.8 4.7 1.5 2.8

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."

Note:  Because some programs reported referrals for more than 100% of clients, columns may not sum to 100%.


Individual clients of faith-based emergency shelters are more likely to leave the shelter for the streets and other outside locations.

A closer examination of emergency and transitional shelters alone reveals that the destinations of emergency shelter clients are much more varied than those of transitional shelter clients.  Even among emergency shelter programs, clients of faith-based programs are more likely to go to many different destinations than are clients of secular non-profit emergency shelters (see Table 12).  Individuals leaving faith-based emergency shelter programs are more likely than those in secular programs to go into transitional housing and to the streets or other outside locations, and they are less likely to go to a family or friend’s house.  Compared to families served by secular non-profits, family clients of faith-based emergency shelter programs are more likely to go to another emergency or transitional shelter or an outside location, and they are less likely to go to private or government housing or even the home of a friend or family member.  Other notable findings from Table 12 are that faith-based and secular emergency shelters report almost equal shares of individual clients leaving their programs for private unsubsidized housing (about 17 percent), and for families the single most common destination for clients is the same: government subsidized housing (the destination of 30 percent of families in secular emergency shelters and 24 percent of families in faith-based emergency shelters).

The destinations of clients of transitional housing programs are somewhat less varied than those of clients of emergency shelters (see Table 13).  This may be due to the greater stability (economically and otherwise) of transitional housing program clients compared to their emergency shelter counterparts.  For both faith-based and secular transitional housing programs, the top destination of individual clients is private unsubsidized housing (29 percent of faith-based and 20 percent of secular clients) and for family clients, the top destination is government subsidized housing (36 percent of faith-based and 41 percent of secular non-profit clients).  The second and third most common destinations are also the same for both types of agencies, for individual clients they are family/friend’s housing and government subsidized housing, and for family clients they are private unsubsidized housing and family/friend’s housing.  In general, the most striking feature of Table 13 is how similar faith-based and secular non-profits are in terms of where the clients of their transitional housing programs go after leaving the program.


21.  These questions cover all clients of homeless assistance programs, not just currently homeless ones.

22.  Questions in this section of the survey pertain to all clients of the given homeless assistance program, as opposed to only currently homeless clients.