Collaborative Initiative staff at the 11 sites screened a total of 1,430 persons for possible enrollment into the program, with substantial variation across sites (e.g. 49 at Ft. Lauderdale, 72 at Philadelphia, 146 screened at Los Angeles and 476 at Martinez (Table 2). On average 130 persons (sd=118) were screened per site. While each site was asked to complete a client screening form for each person evaluated for enrollment into the program, the implementation of screening procedures varied across sites. Differences in screening procedures most likely reflected differences in local goals and circumstances and most likely account for the variation observed in both the number of persons screened, the proportion of people screened who were enrolled into the program, and the numbers and proportions of those enrolled who participated in the evaluation.
Comparisons of individual characteristics of people screened across sites are notable. For example, at Chattanooga, Ft. Lauderdale, Martinez, and Portland a higher proportion of Caucasian (non-minority) persons were screened as compared with Chicago, New York and Philadelphia (Table 2). Whether this result is due to a higher proportion of Caucasians living in these areas or some other reason is not known.
Perhaps the most salient difference in target populations observed across sites was in the area of major diagnostic groups. New York, and to a lesser extent Chicago and Martinez, primarily screened individuals with substance abuse problems, in contrast to Ft. Lauderdale, Chattanooga & Columbus, which primarily screened those with mental health problems (Table 2).
Statistically significant bi-variate differences across sites were found on 44 of 48 screening measures. For this reason, as noted above, ten site dummy codes (coded as 0 or 1) with one site excluded as the reference condition, were included in subsequent models.
Overall, among those screened, the average age was 45 years, 74% were men, 45% were Caucasian, they all were individuals caring for themselves alone (i.e., no families were screened), and 69% had been homeless for over a year, with an additional 31% having experienced 4 or more episodes of homelessness within the past 3 years. Most of those screened had a substance abuse problem (77%) or a mental health problem (60%). About one-third of those screened had one or more disabling medical condition(s). Half of screening/outreach contacts occurred in a shelter or mission (26%), or on the streets or some other outdoor location (25%). Outreach activities were more often initiated by homeless service providers participating in the local CICH Collaborative (51%), than by the staff of the lead agency (27%) or through referrals by other agencies (10%). When approached by Collaborative outreach staff, nearly two-thirds of those screened (63%) expressed interest in receiving permanent housing and supportive services provided through the program.
Of those screened, all but 13% were subsequently documented to have been enrolled into the program (Table 2, third row from the bottom). Half of those screened (51%) both enrolled into the program and agreed to participate in the national evaluation (Table 2, bottom row), again with substantial variation across sites.