From 2007 to 2010, the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s New York City office piloted and evaluated Keeping Families Together, a program that provided permanent supportive housing for the city’s most vulnerable families. These families had been homeless for at least a year, and had at least one case of child abuse or neglect open with the city’s Administration for Children's Services.
Supportive housing offers affordable, well-managed rental housing and intensive services to individuals and families who have been homeless for long periods owing to mental illness, substance addiction or serious health problems.
The Corporation for Supportive Housing subcontracted with Metis Associates, a national consulting firm, to evaluate the pilot. In Keeping Families Together: Program Evaluation Overview the evaluators cited the following findings:
As of June 2010, 26 of 29 families participating in the pilot remained in supportive housing, with some, according to the Corporation, having achieved 30 months of residential stability. In contrast, 15 families in a comparison group either never left homeless shelters or returned to them one to three times during the pilot period.
More than half (61.1%) of the child welfare cases that had been open when the families moved into supportive housing had been closed by the end of the pilot. All six children who were in foster care when the families moved in, and who still wanted to be reunited with their parent, had returned to their families.
Supportive housing helped participants rebuild support systems challenged by homelessness, and had a powerful impact on the importance they placed on becoming better parents.
How Supportive Housing Uplifts Families in Crisis
The power of system-transforming programs like Keeping Families Together help families change their lives for the better.