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March 2015Vol. 16, No. 2Home-Visiting Models for Public, Mixed-Income Communities

Home-visiting programs are frequently used across the nation to provide support and services to vulnerable families. The Urban Institute has been working with public housing agencies and service providers since 2011 to evaluate home-visiting models for families in public and mixed-income housing. A recent brief published by the Urban Institute examines Housing Opportunity and Services Together (HOST), a demonstration that provides two-generation support services and includes regular home visits and counseling. The brief also discusses efforts to implement home-visiting models in HOST partner sites in Chicago, IL, and Portland, OR.

In Designing a Home Visiting Framework for Families in Public and Mixed-Income Communities, Urban Institute researchers report that although home-visiting programs are beneficial for helping vulnerable families, many do not consider the needs of public and mixed-income housing residents. In particular, researchers recognized that the HOST model concentrates on providing support and services to adults and school-aged children while missing the needs of the youngest children within these families.

The HOST model partners located in Illinois and Oregon outlined five primary areas that require special attention:

  • Positive parenting
  • Child development
  • School readiness
  • Caregiver mental health
  • Referrals and follow-through for screening and services for children and caregivers

Home-visiting programs include elements that touch on these highlighted areas (working with families in their homes toward common goals, child safety, school preparation and parenting skill training, child development, etc.). However, in order to best meet the needs of the Chicago and Portland HOST communities and allow for more focus on the youngest children who are often overlooked, a customized home-visiting framework was necessary. The brief examines the particular issues each site faced in creating their frameworks. This brief also discussed the importance of having a strong framework for a home-visiting program. Researchers suggested that in addition to understanding familial needs, a home-vising framework should also look at program content, delivery, and infrastructure.

Read Designing a Home Visiting Framework for Families in Public and Mixed-Income Communities on the Urban Institute website at (242 KB).