In 2012, the Children’s Bureau awarded five sites grants to provide supportive housing to child welfare–involved families. Eligible families included those in which children were at risk of being removed into out-of-home care and families with children in out-of-home care where housing instability was an impediment to reunification. Each site identified high-need families. Although the definitions varied, sites included families that were homeless or unstably housed and had one or two co-occurring issues, such as a caregiver with a substance use issue, a mental health problem, and intimate partner violence, among others. The grant provided funding for program start-up and certain services, but each site had to provide housing resources. Three sites—Broward County, Florida, the State of Connecticut, and San Francisco, California—used housing choice vouchers while the other two sites—Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Memphis, Tennessee—used site-based housing (sometimes referred to as project-based housing). Sites began enrolling families in 2013, and the grants ran through 2018.
With new funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Urban has conducted a follow-up study to learn whether supportive housing led to longer-term impacts, resulting in seven publications covering different topic areas. This essay provides an overview of the findings captured in those briefs and reports, all of which can be found here. The findings are based on either child welfare administrative data obtained from all five sites five years after randomization or a follow-up survey administered to families approximately 54 months after randomization.