HOST improves employment and other outcomes among high-need residents through individualized, intensive whole-family case management that assesses employment barriers and coordinates service needs for mental health, literacy, education, and employment training.

HOST supported education for adults and for youth through year-round education-oriented opportunities, such as mentoring and summer programs. Case managers provided various resources to residents, as illustrated by one of our interviews.

One resident had [a] son trying to go to college, [but she] had no help. What he needed was a bus ticket back to school. That’s all he needed to go back to school. He had a full scholarship otherwise. And the mother didn’t have the money. I went to [the program director] Ms. West, and she paid for the bus ticket.

Case manager, Chicago HOST site

Secretary Carson’s EnVision Centers initiative aims to help households receiving assistance from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) achieve self-sufficiency, enabling them to leave assistance and become homeowners or renters in the private market so HUD can use its resources to help other low-income households. EnVision Centers reflect the “notion that financial support alone is insufficient to solve the problem of poverty” and that it will take a collective partnership to “implement a holistic approach to foster long-lasting self-sufficiency.” We offer nine recommendations drawn from the evidence on past efforts by HUD that the EnVision Centers could apply to help assisted households move toward self-sufficiency and attain financial stability.

This brief was updated on July 23, 2018, to add funder, boilerplate, and copyright language and to correct a reference on page 3.

EnVision Centers: Insights from Research on Past Efforts to Promote Self-Sufficiency among HUD-Assisted Households

Two-generation models target low-income children and their parents in hopes of interrupting the cycle of poverty. These models vary widely, and policymakers and practitioners need guidance on how best to design them. This brief uses insights from the Housing Opportunities and Services Together Demonstration to present an updated theoretical framework for these models. The framework emphasizes the importance of using family goals to target individual family members, setting individual goals, and aligning tailored and appropriate solutions. This lens also emphasizes prioritizing relationship-building over programs and designing flexible evaluation approaches, while working for systems change to support families in their efforts.

A Theoretical Framework for Two-Generation Models

Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST), launched by the Urban Institute with the support of the Open Society Foundations in December 2010, is an innovative approach to coordinating services and programs for adults and youth in public and mixed-income housing. HOST's core case management component helps parents in low-income neighborhoods confront their key barriers to self-sufficiencypoor physical and mental health, addictions, low literacy and educational attainment, and historically weak connections to the labor forcewhile simultaneously integrating services for children and youth.

HOST Year 2: Implementation and Expansion