Strategic Action Plan on Homelessness. 2003 Strategic Action Plan Goal 3:  Work to prevent new episodes of homelessness within the HHS clientele


Prevention activities are critical to any plan that seeks to end chronic homelessness.  However, in order to prevent homelessness, we first need to understand effective prevention interventions.  As such, HHS has sponsored research over the past several years to better understand what prevention models might be effective.

  • Evaluability Assessment of Discharge Planning to Prevent Homelessness ASPE sponsoredanevaluability assessment of discharge planning in institutional and custodial settings, with a specific focus on whether discharge planning is a strategy that can prevent homelessness.  The project included a literature review on discharge planning; a documentary analysis of selected exemplary programs, including site visits to identified programs; and a final report that summarizes key findings from the study, including possible evaluation design options.  The final report was published September 2005 and available at:
  • Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children: Recognizing that data on homeless families is not as robust as data available on single adults, ASPE is sponsoring a research project designed to identify opportunities and strategies to improve data about homeless families upon which future policy and program decisions may be based by investigating the availability of data with which to construct a typology of homeless families.  A typology could foster a better understanding of these families characteristics, service needs, interactions with human services systems, and the dynamics of their use of emergency shelter and other services and assistance.  The final report from this project will be available in the spring of 2007.
  • Evaluation of Chronic Homelessness Policy Academies: HRSA is partnering with SAMHSA/CMHS to co-fund an evaluation of the Chronic Homelessness Policy Academies, a multi-year project that was funded by HHS, HUD, VA, and DOL.  The Homeless Policy Academies were designed to offer states an opportunity to bring together a team of policy-makers, providers, and program leaders to spend three days working on a strategic action plan to increase access to mainstream services for people experiencing chronic homelessness.  Both a process evaluation and an outcome evaluation will document the process, assess the effectiveness of the Academies, and identify lessons learned from the Policy Academy activity for the 49 states and territories who attended a chronic homeless Academy.  Final evaluation report is expected in late 2007.
  • National Symposium on Homelessness Research:  ASPE is partnering with HUD to sponsor a National Symposium on Homelessness Research.  This project will oversee the commissioning of a series of synthesis papers, the organization of a symposium to present and discuss the papers, and the production of a final report featuring the papers commissioned for the project.  Over the past decade, the landscape of homelessness research has evolved immensely; new models for housing and service delivery have emerged and cutting edge research has expanded our understanding of the various populations that experience homelessness.  The findings presented through this project will serve to guide federal and state policymaking, to assist local practitioners in incorporating successful strategies into their programs, and to assist researchers to identify areas meriting future research.  The Symposium will be held in 2007 and the volume of final papers will also be available in 2007.      
  • Homeless Families Program SAMHSA funded a multi-site study of the effectiveness of services provided to homeless women and their children.  Approximately 1600 women and their families received services under this program.  The project was designed to document and evaluate the effectiveness of time-limited, intensive intervention strategies for providing treatment, housing, support, and family preservation services to homeless mothers with psychiatric and/or substance use disorders who are caring for their dependent children.  The study design involved a five-year, cross-site data collection and analysis program involving eight study sites.  The project was begun in September of 1999 and data collection was concluded in September of 2006.  A series of articles that report the study findings will be published in the Journal of Community Psychology in 2007.
  • Promising Strategies to End Youth Homelessness: The Family and Youth Services Bureau within ACF, in consultation with the USICH, is conducting a study of "promising strategies to end youth homelessness" which responds to statutory requirements.  The study will identify and assess a wide range of practices that show promise or carry evidence of effectiveness in helping young people find appropriate living situations, including those youth who have suffered from systemic failures, such as when child welfare and juvenile justice programs have been incapable of providing effective transitions to adult independence for youth in their care.  Runaway and homeless youth served by FYSB are served in emergency situations and cases where returning home is not an option.  The study is anticipated to be released in 2007.

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