What Helps Families Who Are Experiencing Homelessness?

BETHESDA, MD — How do we best help families experiencing homelessness, and how do we keep them from becoming homeless again? Three-year findings from a major study released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Abt Associates show that long-term housing subsidies, particularly housing vouchers, are the best strategy.

Providing priority access to long-term housing subsidies to homeless families helps keep families from becoming homeless again and has a variety of positive benefits – from keeping families out of shelters and off the street, to preventing food insecurity and intimate partner violence and reducing school moves for children in homeless families.

From September 2010 through January 2012, 2,282 families with 5,397 children enrolled in the Family Options Study across 12 communities after spending at least seven days in emergency shelter. Researchers from Abt Associates and Vanderbilt University followed the families for 37 months, gathering evidence about which types of housing and services interventions worked best for homeless families. Participating communities were Alameda County, Calif.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Bridgeport and New Haven , Conn.; Denver; Honolulu; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Minneapolis; Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
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