Assessing the difficulty of converting judicially prompted reform into viable practice in the case of supported housing in New York City

The Foundation's program, Public Health Law Research: Making the Case for Laws That Improve Health, was designed to build the evidence for public health law and policy, translate research findings into practical tools to increase the support for and use of law by policy makers and public health practitioners, and to translate findings to other fields and venues to improve and protect health.This project will study the implementation and outcomes of a court-ordered offer of less restrictive supportive housing to 4,300 mentally ill adult home residents in New York. Residents, conditioned by what the court termed "learned helplessness" endemic to institutions will need the support of "peer bridgers" to consider such offers. Less restrictive housing has been shown to lead to better long-term health outcomes. Using modified ethnographic methods, the team will document: how eligibility (individuals with a mental illness) is determined; how credible offers of alternative housing are made; how residents make sense of their relevance; and what will count as a refusal. The grantee will also interview relocated residents, do life story interviews, log residential histories, and test a number of evaluation instruments. The findings should demonstrate the value of flexibly configured, qualitative research methods in documenting the difficulties of converting judicially prompted reform into viable practice, fruitful means of resolving them, and stubbornly persistent problems -- and of doing so in ways that can inform potential corrective action. Deliverables include working papers, articles in peer-reviewed journals, a field manual and field instruments.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $144,491.00

Awarded on: 1/14/2013

Time frame: 11/15/2012 - 8/14/2014

Grant Number: 70516


Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research/Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene

140 Old Orangeburg Road, Building 35
Orangeburg, 10962-1159


Kim J. Hopper
Project Director