• June 2011
  • Vol. 12, No. 5

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Keeping Families Together in Supportive Housing

A 3-year pilot program that provided supportive housing for chronically homeless families with child welfare involvement showed promising outcomes at the end of the pilot. A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation describes how the Corporation for Supportive Housing's New York City Office piloted the program, Keeping Families Together, with 29 families that had been homeless for at least 1 year. All of the families had an open case of child abuse or neglect, all of the parents but one had a history of substance abuse, and more than half had been diagnosed with a mental illness.

The project, which provided permanent housing and intensive services to these families, had three main goals:

  • Provide housing for the most vulnerable families in the child welfare system
  • Improve agency collaboration in support of families
  • Build the capacity of providers to serve families

The report notes that a 2010 evaluation showed many positive outcomes:

  • Twenty-six families remained in the housing, and some had achieved 30 months of housing stability.
  • Sixty-one percent of the child welfare cases had been closed.
  • After the first year, children averaged 25 more days of school attendance compared with the previous year (when they were homeless).
  • Families were better able to maintain positive relationships with others and rebuild support systems.

The report describes how the different agencies collaborated, lessons learned, and how the project plans to disseminate results. The full report, Keeping Families Together: A Pilot Program and Its Evaluation, is available on the Robert Wood Johnson (the funding agency) website:

www.rwjf.org/files/research/58836.final.pdf (120 KB)

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