The primary purpose of the national evaluation of client outcomes in this evaluation was to monitor both the use of services and client outcomes systematically and uniformly among all 11 sites. The major goals of the program included: 1) rapid placement of chronically homeless individuals in permanent housing, and once placed, helping them to retain (keep) this housing, 2) providing an integrated set of housing and supported services to those enrolled into the program to improve health outcomes, 3) assisting those enrolled in accessing mainstream resources, most notably public assistance income, and 4) obtaining alternative long-term funding to sustain program services beyond the 3-year grant funded by HUD, DHHS and VA.
This report has addressed the first 3 goals of the program mentioned, all of which were successfully addressed. The average number of days housed at each follow-up assessment increased from 18 out of the previous 90 days at baseline to 68 days at 3-months and upwards to 83 days at 12-months. The vast majority of CICH clients were thus placed into housing within 3 months of enrolling into the program, and nearly all of those placed remained housed one year later.
The proportion of core services received also increased from 64% at baseline to 78-81% thereafter, indicating that CICH providers effectively maintained contact with most CICH clients and were able to facilitate their engagement in treatment during the first year following enrollment into the program. In association with these changes, mental health functioning improved while psychological distress decreased steadily and significantly. However, more than one-third of clients reported using illicit drugs at each assessment, and alcohol and drug problems remained largely unchanged over time. It is possible that more time is needed for improvements to emerge in this outcome domain.
Thirdly, the percentage of CICH clients receiving public assistance increased from 70% at baseline to 81-85% thereafter. Mean monthly public assistance income increased steadily from $316 at baseline to $478 one year later, a 50% increase.