HOST Publications

HOST uses housing as a platform to improve the life chances of vulnerable children, youth, and adults. Here’s some of what we learned. 


Building Public Housing Authority Capacity for Better Resident Services

Sarah Gillespie, Susan J. Popkin

This brief describes the opportunities to use housing as a platform for resident services, the challenges to coordinating services effectively in public and assisted housing, and the strategies and recommendations to ensure that service coordination is evidence based. It primarily highlights insights from the Urban Institute’s Housing Opportunity and Service’s Together (HOST) demonstration established in 2010 to test a whole-family, wraparound model for addressing intergenerational poverty and disadvantage in public and subsidized housing. Adapting lessons from HOST for current service coordination models, even in an environment of scarce resources, creates opportunities for new partners, strategies, and flexibilities.


HOST: Can Public Housing be a Platform for Change?

Susan J. Popkin, Marla McDaniel

Building on research in distressed public housing communities, we argue for a new approach to addressing the worst consequences of concentrated poverty and helping families move toward self-sufficiency. We introduce the Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST) demonstration, a two-generation, whole family service model that uses public and mixed-income housing as a platform for intensive, wraparound services. We describe how HOST encapsulates lessons learned from studying federal housing policies, challenges that make reversing chronic disadvantage so difficult, and our theoretical framework for fostering change. We outline HOST's research design in four sites: Chicago, New York, Portland, and Washington, D.C.


HOST: Helping Families, Building Communities

Chantal Hailey, Priya Saxena

The Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST) Demonstration aims to strengthen public and mixed-income housing communities through intensive services for vulnerable families. Drawing on our survey of HOST participants, this brief illustrates the first two sites, a Chicago public housing development and Portland mixed-income community, and discusses challenges to HOST's community goals. HOST builds on the housing authorities substantial investments in improving the developments and Portlands high collective efficacy. However, residents express concerns about neighborhood resources, perceive major community problems with violence and social disorder, and suffer from poor mental health -factors that could stymie HOST's individual and community objectives.


HOST Youth: The Challenges of Growing up in Low-Income Housing

Reed Jordan, Amanda Mireles, Susan J. Popkin

The Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST) Demonstration is testing the feasibility and effectiveness of two generation intensive service models in distressed public and mixed-income housing communities. This brief draws on findings from the 2012 survey of parents and youth living in the first two HOST sites - Chicago's Altgeld Gardens and Portland's New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens - to illustrate how HOST youth were faring at the start of the HOST intervention. Our survey results demonstrate HOST youth are at serious risk of experiencing school failure, they engage in risky sexual activity, and suffer from poor mental health.


Serving HOST Families: The Challenges to Overcome

Molly M. Scott, Susan J. Popkin, Marla McDaniel, Priya Saxena, Reed Jordan

HOST's diverse parents struggle with significant barriers to employment, including low levels of education and literacy, chronic mental and physical health problems, and histories of trauma and violence. As a result, many HOST parents cycle in and out of the labor market or languish in low-wage jobs. Under these circumstances, HOST families do their best to get by, but often have to make hard choices between paying rent and utilities and buying essentials like food. This brief provides an in-depth profile of HOST families to set the scene for the changes we hope to see over the demonstrations duration.


HOST Year 2: Implementation and Expansion

Molly M. Scott, Elsa Falkenburger, Marla McDaniel, Amy Khare, Susan J. Popkin

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-sufficiency poor physical and mental health, addictions, low literacy and educational attainment, and historically weak connections to the labor force while simultaneously integrating services for children and youth.


Planning the Housing Opportunity and Services Together Demonstration: Challenges and Lessons Learned

Susan J. Popkin, Molly M. Scott, Joe Parilla, Elsa Falkenburger, Marla McDaniel, Shinwon Kyung

The multisite Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST) demonstration is an ambitious effort to test strategies that use housing as a platform for services to improve the life chances of vulnerable children, youth, and adults. This brief provides an overview of the project's early challenges and successes to offer practitioners insights on the planning and design of "dual generation" interventions and to inform policy supporting comprehensive place-based initiatives.