During the first two years of program operation (i.e., through April 2006), 1,430 homeless people were formally screened for enrollment in CICH. Of these, 1,242 (87%) were identified as having been enrolled into the CICH clinical program. All of those enrolled into CICH were invited to participate in the national evaluation. Among the 1,242 enrolled into the program nationally, 734 (59%) gave written informed consent to participate in the national evaluation. All those who provided written informed consent participated in data collection for the national evaluation. Participation in the national evaluation was completely voluntary, and did not influence receipt of housing or services provided through the Initiative. Informed consent procedures were approved by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System (where the Northeast Program Evaluation Center is located) and Yale University (at which the investigators have faculty appointments), and at each of the 11 local VA medical centers through which local evaluation data were collected by VA research staff and affiliated academic institutions where appropriate.
Soon after the three federal agencies sponsoring CICH announced the selected sites , in fall 2003, "lead agency" staff responsible for administering CICH funds and "partner agency" staff providing services to CICH clients at each of the 11 CICH sites were asked to identify up to ten "core" human service agencies that made up their local network of CICH service providers. Included in each network were the lead agency which was primarily responsible for implementing the program and coordinating the actions of partnering agencies, and those partnering agencies primarily responsible for providing housing assistance, mental health care, substance abuse services, primary health care, and Veterans Health Administration services to CICH clients. Key informants were those identified by program leaders as those most knowledgeable about the activities of each network agency at each site.
In some sites one agency provided more than one key service (e.g., the mental health agency also provided substance abuse services); thus, only one survey was conducted for that agency. At other sites, in contrast, more than one agency provided a particular service and key informants at both agencies were interviewed. Thus, the number of agencies at each site ranged from five to nine. Furthermore, at some agencies more than one key informant was identified and interviews were jointly held.