Homeless Families to Help Determine What Works
September 1, 2010
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Homelessness is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when considering life in affluent Fairfield County. But the federal government has picked five cities there, along with New Haven, to be part of a collaborative project to determine the effectiveness of various intervention methods aimed at ending homelessness.
Connecticut is one of 12 sites participating in the project. At the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Executive Director Carol Walter explains that, along with the well-to-do, the area has its share of desperate families.
"There actually are emergency shelters located in Westport and Fairfield, and there's a large number of homeless families in that lower Fairfield County region."
Other participating cities are Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford. Walter says the evaluation will include four different types of interventions, all intended to promote housing stability, family preservation, well-being, and self-sufficiency.
Walter says 250 to 300 Connecticut families will participate, and some of them will get a very concrete reward.
"One of the benefits of the study is that there will be 50 permanent housing subsidies set aside for study participants by public housing authorities. These are Section 8 certificates that are in the state already."
The program will start this month and continue into next year, she adds.
"The study will follow participants and conduct extensive interviews for a period of about 18 months after they've been assigned to the housing condition."
The options to be evaluated are: 1) permanent housing, with no additional support services; 2) transitional housing with support services; 3) rapid rehousing for the short- and medium-term, along with support services; and 4) staying in homeless shelters with whatever services are offered.