The Bottom Line
The studies conducted to date on ending family homelessness do not provide enough information to justify any one approach. It is not clear that housing subsidies alone will provide residential stability for most homeless families. Some evidence shows that active outreach and engagement, case management, and other services foster residential stability and other desirable outcomes. Additional research, addressing the limitations in existing studies, is needed to determine the most advantageous allocation of resources.
The Study and Findings
This study reviews what is known about the role that housing subsidies and services play in reducing homelessness among families. The authors examined studies published in the United States since 1990 that had samples greater than 50 families and investigated housing and service variables and their relation to residential stability and other desirable outcomes.
The results show that access to housing vouchers seems to increase residential stability. For some families, case management and other services may also contribute to long-term housing stability. The results also demonstrate that the knowledge base is not yet sufficient to know the most effective approach for ending family homelessness.
This study would be of interest to homeless service providers, homeless advocates, housing authorities, and housing policy-makers at the local, state, and federal levels.
Research on the effects of housing subsidies and services on homeless families is very limited - most existing studies focus on homeless adult individuals with mental illness. Despite the limitations of the studies reviewed, the authors are able to draw some conclusions about the effectiveness of subsidized housing and services for homeless families and children.
This document is in the public domain and may be freely copied, distributed or publicly displayed.