What We’ll Learn From the Evaluation

Denver Supportive Housing SIB employee visiting one of their applicants in their home

In partnership with the City and County of Denver, the Urban Institute is studying how the program is implemented and evaluating the SIB’s outcomes to determine investor payments and to better understand the effectiveness of supportive housing. The randomized controlled trial evaluation is designed to measure housing stability among program participants and the impact of the program on days in jail, as compared with a control group receiving services as usual in the community. In addition, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Urban Institute is analyzing differences in health utilization and health outcomes for the treatment and control participants.

When the five-year project ends in 2021, the Denver SIB will be one of the largest experimental evaluations of supportive housing and criminal justice outcomes in the country.

The evaluation process includes research questions about the impact of the program, as well as questions about implementation. Below are the guiding research questions:

Is the program successful?

  • Do housed participants retain housing?
  • Were performance goals met so that investors should be paid?
  • Does supportive housing increase housing stability and decrease the use of high-cost public services (e.g., jails, courts, detox centers, homeless shelters, and hospitals)?
  • Do outcomes differ for participants housed in scatter-site housing versus single-site housing?

What is the supportive housing model, and how is it implemented?

  • How long would it take to locate and engage people identified through the criminal justice system?
  • What kind of homelessness histories would the target population have?
  • How many would eventually lease up in housing?
  • What are the challenges and successes of keeping participants stable in housing?