HUD/HHS/VA Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness: Is System Integration Associated with Client Outcomes?. Merging of Client and Network Data


Individuals were recruited into CICH, and subsequently into the evaluation, on a rolling-basis throughout the first two years of program operation. Baseline assessment interviews were administered as soon as possible after clients entered the program and provided written informed consent to participate in the evaluation. Follow-up assessments were then administered as close to 90, 180, 270, and 360 days after the date of the baseline assessment for 3-month, 6-month, 9-month, and 12-month follow-up's, respectively. Thus, the client outcome data reported here were collected on a rolling-basis throughout the first three years of program operation (i.e., recruitment throughout years 1 and 2 of the program, followed by 4 quarterly follow-up assessments).

Network data, by contrast, were collected annually for all sites around January of each year, beginning in January 2004, approximately 3 months after the sites were selected and 3 months before the programs became operational (i.e., during the 6-month post-selection implementation planning phase of the program).

Client outcomes data were merged with network data to most accurately reflect the status of network collaboration during their first year in treatment; namely, clients whose baseline assessment occurred before 7/1/04 (N=279, 40%), between 7/1/04 and 7/1/05 (N=393, 56%), and after 7/1/05 (N=28, 4%) were merged with corresponding year 1, year 2, and year 3 network data, respectively. These dates represent the approximate mid-points between network interviews.

This method was used for selecting a single "current" network interview from among three potential network interviews to minimize the potentially confounding factor of changes in network operation over time. Previous analyses of network data mentioned earlier showed significant changes among network measures over the three waves of network data collection (Greenberg & Rosenheck, 2007). Given a) the relationship between "current" network characteristics and first year client outcomes examined in this report, b) the early administration of the first network interview prior to the start of clinical program operation, and c) that clients were enrolled into the clinical program (and thus into the national evaluation) staggered over a two-year period of time, the decision was made to use the network interview that most reflected the status of the service network at the time that each client was enrolled into the national evaluation. Network characteristics at the time of client entry into the program were judged to be most pertinent to that consumer's overall experience of the service system at their site.

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