The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration provided vulnerable public housing residents from two Chicago Housing Authority developments with intensive case management services, transitional jobs, financial literacy training, and relocation counseling. The Demonstration was remarkably successful in implementing a wraparound service model. The lead service provider kept residents highly engaged even as they relocated with vouchers or to mixed-income housing. Participants perceived improvements in service quality and delivery, and providers felt more effective and engaged. The additional costs for the intensive services were modest, suggesting that it would be feasible to take a carefully targeted intensive service model to scale.
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But while the Plan for Transformation
addressed the CHA’s bricks-and-mortar
issues, its Service Connector program,
which provided case management
and referral services for residents, was less
successful. Advocates and resident leaders criticized
the Service Connector program for high
caseloads and inadequate services. And while
Service Connector and the CHA’s relocation
services evolved over time, and caseloads were
gradually reduced, even the improved services
could not meet the deep needs of CHA’s most
vulnerable residents, who had long relied on
the CHA’s distressed developments as housing
of last resort (Popkin 2006). These families
faced numerous, complex barriers to their ability
to move toward self-sufficiency or even sustain
stable housing, including serious physical
and mental health problems, weak (or nonexistent)
employment histories and limited work
skills, very low literacy levels, drug and alcohol
abuse, family members’ criminal histories, and
serious credit problems (Popkin, Cunningham,
and Burt 2005; Popkin et al. 2000).
The Chicago Family Case Management
Demonstration was created to develop effective
strategies for addressing the needs of
these hard-to-house families. The Demonstration
ran from March 2007 to March 2010,
overlapping with the 2009 CHA Panel Study,
which tracked a random sample of residents
from CHA’s Madden/Wells Homes from 2001 to 2009 (Popkin, Levy, et al. 2010). The
Demonstration—a partnership of the Urban
Institute, the CHA, Heartland Human Care
Services, and Housing Choice Partners—
intended to test the feasibility of providing
wraparound supportive services for vulnerable
public housing families (Popkin et al.
2008). The program provided residents from
the CHA’s Dearborn Homes and Madden/
Wells developments with intensive case management
services, transitional jobs, financial
literacy training, and relocation counseling
(see text box on page 10).
The Urban Institute conducted a rigorous
evaluation, including a baseline and followup
survey, administrative interviews, focus
groups with service providers and program
administrators, in-depth resident interviews,
and analysis of program and administrative
data. The evaluation tracked participant outcomes
and monitored the collaboration
among the service partners. The design
allowed for continuous learning and midcourse
corrections during implementation.
The Demonstration was remarkably successful
in implementing a wraparound service
model for vulnerable public housing residents.
The lead service provider was able to adapt
the service model as residents relocated with
vouchers or to mixed-income housing, while
sustaining high levels of engagement. Further,
participants perceived improvements in service
quality and delivery, and providers felt
more effective and engaged. The Demonstration
also generally improved the quality of
coordination and cooperation between service
agencies and the CHA. However, the
Demonstration was less successful in engaging
participants in relocation counseling and,
thus, facilitating opportunity moves. The
additional costs for the intensive services were
relatively modest, suggesting that it would be
feasible to take a carefully targeted intensive
service model to scale. In this brief, we discuss
the implementation of the Demonstration
and our analysis of service costs. The other
briefs in the series (see Popkin, Theodos, et al.
2010) describe the outcomes for participants
across a range of domains, including employment,
health, housing and neighborhoods,
and children and youth.
(End of excerpt. The entire brief is available in PDF format.)
This brief is part of the Supporting Vulnerable Public Housing Families: An Evaluation of the Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration series.
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