June 26, 2013

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released an interim report on The Family Options Study, which is a multi-year experimental study sponsored by HUD. The objective of the Family Options Study is to provide research evidence to help federal policymakers, community planners, and local practitioners make sound decisions about the best ways to address homelessness among families.

The ultimate goal of this study is to determine what interventions work best to promote housing stability, family preservation, self-sufficiency, and adult and child well-being for families who are homeless. This study represents the largest experimental study of family homelessness conducted to date.

Key points about this study:

From September 2010 through January 2012, over 2,300 families from 12 communities were enrolled after spending at least seven days in emergency shelter.

Families who consented to participate were randomly assigned to one of four interventions commonly employed within local communities to help families experiencing homelessness: Subsidy, Community-based Rapid Re-Housing, Project-based Transitional Housing, and Usual Care.

The Interim Report presents the findings that relate to families’ enrollment rates in the interventions and thus the desirability of the different interventions. Of particular note, 72% of families randomly assigned to the Subsidy intervention have leased up, 46% of families randomly assigned to the Community-based Rapid Re-Housing are housed and receiving assistance, and 29% of families randomly assigned to Project-based Transitional Housing have moved into housing.

To read the Family Options Study interim report, click here.