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HUD Releases 18-Month Outcomes from Family Options Study

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released 18-month outcomes from the Family Options Study  which was conducted from 2010 to 2012 by researchers from Abt Associates and Vanderbilt University. The study compares three different interventions to address family homelessness - Subsidy (SUB), Project-Based Transitional Housing (PBTH), and Community Based Rapid-Rehousing (CBRR) - to Usual Care (UC), and examines the impact that each intervention had on housing stability, lengths of stays in emergency shelter and transitional housing, and other measures of family well-being such as family preservation, adult and child well-being, and self-sufficiency.

Among the key findings were:

  • Priority access to housing vouchers significantly reduced the length of time families experienced homelessness. Families offered vouchers experienced homelessness in shelter and transitional housing for an average of 3.1 months compared to 5.2 months for those who were assigned to usual care. Further, housing vouchers had a significant positive impact on the well-being of the adults and children in those families.
  • Housing vouchers are cost effective. The total cost of serving a family over 18 months was only $500 higher for families who received a voucher than for those receiving usual care, as the cost of the voucher was almost entirely offset by the reductions in cost of other services such as emergency shelter.
  • Rapid re-housing also reduced homelessness. Families offered rapid re-housing experienced homelessness in shelter and transitional housing for an average of 4.6 months compared to 5.5 months for those who were assigned to usual care.
  • People offered rapid re-housing had the lowest cost over 18 months of any of the interventions. On average, families offered rapid re-housing used $3,000 less in assistance over the 18 month period than those in usual care and generally had similar or better outcomes.
  • Transitional housing was the most costly intervention. Families offered transitional housing used $2,500 more in assistance than those who were assigned to usual care and the higher cost did not appear to result in additional benefits for the families.

The researchers will also be following-up with study participants to examine 36-month outcomes to measure the longer-term impacts of the interventions offered to homeless families. 

Read the Full Study Report

Read the Study Brief

View the Study Briefing