How is the Family Options Study Informing U.S. Housing Policy?
In July 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Family Options Study, which provides the first clear evidence about the best policies to help families who experience homelessness.
Under the Family Options Study, researchers from Abt Associates and Vanderbilt University gathered evidence about which types of housing and services interventions worked best for homeless families. From September 2010 through January 2012, a total of 2,282 families enrolled in the Family Options Study across 12 communities after spending at least seven days in emergency shelter.
The study found that offering permanent housing subsidies to families experiencing homelessness had substantial positive impacts relative to other methods of support, reducing the percent of families returning to homelessness by more than half. Permanent housing subsidies also had positive impacts on other measures of family well-being including family preservation, adult well-being and child well-being. For example, compared to families assigned to usual care, children in families given priority access to permanent housing subsidies moved among schools less frequently, families were less likely to experience food insecurity and experienced less economic stress.
Michelle Wood, one of the report’s authors and a principal associate at Abt Associates, discusses the study and its impact on the challenge of ending homelessness in America.
Read more about the study:
Offering Vouchers to Families Experiencing Homelessness Has Benefits That Extend Beyond Housing