Program Use by Families in the Permanent

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Chapter 6. Impacts of Permanent Housing Subsidy (SUB)

6.2 Program Use by Families in the Permanent

Versus Usual Care (UC) Comparison

Each impact comparison in the study may be thought of as a distinct experiment or test, and this chapter addresses only the comparison between SUB and UC, without reference to the families who were randomized to the community-based rapid re-housing (CBRR) and project-based transitional hous - ing (PBTH) interventions. In total, 1,039 families took part

66 Payment standards are adjusted for the number of bedrooms in the unit. The actual rent includes an estimate of the cost of utilities paid for by the tenant. Details regard-ing the calculation of housregard-ing assistance payments under the HCV program are in 24 CFR Part 982.505.

67 Although all SUB programs used these eligibility criteria, not all SUB programs asked the study team to screen prospective study participants for these items before random assignment. This accounts for the discrepancy between Exhibit 2-11 in Gubits et al. (2013) and this statement.

Short-Term Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families 64 Chapter 6. Impacts of Permanent Housing Subsidy (SUB) Compared With Usual Care (UC)

in the test of SUB versus UC. These families all had the oppor - tunity to be assigned to SUB or UC at the point of random assignment and were assigned to one of these two interven-tions; 599 families were assigned to SUB and 540 families were assigned to UC.68 Of these 1,039 families (599 SUB families and 540 UC families), 530 SUB families and 415 UC families (91 percent) responded to the 18-month followup survey. Therefore, 945 families are included in the SUB-versus-UC impact comparison reported in this chapter. The current section describes the extent to which the 530 SUB families used the SUB intervention and other types of home-less and housing assistance during the followup period.

Parallel information is presented for the 415 UC families.

Exhibit 6-2 shows the use by these 945 families of seven types of homeless and housing programs. The first column shows the percentage of families assigned to SUB who ever used each program type during the followup period.69 The top row (shaded in the exhibit) shows the takeup of SUB by the families assigned to that intervention; 84.2 percent of families assigned to SUB received the SUB intervention at

some point during the followup period—meaning that they successfully leased a housing unit with a voucher or moved into an assisted housing unit.70 The second column corre-spondingly shows the percentage of families assigned to UC who ever used each program type during the followup period.71 The top row of the second column shows that 12.4 percent of the UC families received the SUB intervention during the followup period, presumably through the regular process of coming off waiting lists and leasing units.

The next six rows of the exhibit show participation in other types of homeless and housing assistance programs. First, consider the other two interventions considered in this study.

Of UC families, 20 percent found their way to rapid re-housing assistance during the followup period, and 21 percent found their way to transitional housing. The use of programs other than SUB is always higher for the UC group than for the SUB group, presumably because the UC group did not have the SUB intervention easily available and so turned to other types of programs. The eighth row shows the percentages of families in the SUB and UC groups who used none of the six types

Exhibit 6-2. SUB Versus UC: Program Use Since Random Assignment

Type of Housing Assistance if Ever Used Type of Housing Assistance

Percent Used in Month of Followup

Survey Response

SUB UC SUB UC SUB UC

Mean Median Mean Median

Subsidy (SUB)b 84.2 12.4 16.2 17.5 10.6 10.5 74.7 10.6

Rapid re-housing 13.3 20.4 4.1 3.5 7.2 5.5 0.0 2.5

Transitional housing 6.4 21.2 6.4 4.0 8.1 6.5 1.0 8.0

Permanent supportive housing 0.8 5.4 7.6 3.0 9.2 7.5 0.6 3.7

Public housing 0.9 8.0 9.6 10.5 11.1 10.5 0.9 6.0

Project-based vouchers/Section 8 projects 1.2 3.8 11.9 13.5 14.2 16.5 1.0 3.6

Emergency shelterc 84.0 87.0 3.3 2.0 4.5 3.0 3.6 10.1

No use of homeless or housing programsd 4.8 26.9 19.7 19.0 19.7 20.0 18.2 56.2

N 530 415 530 415

SUB = permanent housing subsidy. UC = usual care.

RA = random assignment.

a Percentage of families who ever used a type of assistance program during the period from the month of RA to the month of 18-month followup survey response (median period duration: 21 months). Percentages do not add to 100 because some families used more than one program type during the followup period.

b Subsidy assistance is housing choice vouchers plus site-specific programs offered to families assigned to SUB group in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

c All families were in emergency shelter at random assignment. Percentages less than 100 percent for ever used emergency shelter are because of missing data on shelter use.

d No use of homeless or housing programs (ever used) indicates no use of the six program types in this table during any of the followup period and no use of emergency shelter after the first 6 months after RA. No use in the month of followup survey response indicates no use of any of these seven program types.

Notes: Percentages are regression adjusted, controlling for site and randomization ratio. Percentages, means, and medians are weighted for survey nonresponse to represent full comparison sample.

Source: Family Options Study Program Usage Data

68 In the entire study, 746 families were randomly assigned to UC. Only 540 of these families had SUB available to them when they were randomized, however. Therefore, only these 540 UC families are part of the SUB-versus-UC comparison sample. All 599 families randomly assigned to SUB during the course of the study had UC available to them, so all are part of the SUB-versus-UC comparison sample.

69 The followup period is from the calendar month of random assignment through the calendar month of response to the 18-month followup survey. Therefore, the length of the followup period differs across families. This period lasts for a median of 20 months for the full sample. Analysis of Program Usage Data used data for a median of 21 calendar months for the full sample.

70 All percentages, means, and medians in the exhibit are weighted to adjust for survey nonresponse and hence as best possible represent the full experimental sample of 1,039 families. The findings on program use are thus in line with similarly weighted impact estimates provided subsequently in the chapter.

71 The percentages in the first six rows of these columns are not mutually exclusive because some families use more than one program type during the followup period.

of programs shown on the exhibit during the followup period and did not use emergency shelter from the seventh month after random assignment onward. About 5 percent of SUB families and 27 percent of UC families fall into this group.

The mean and median number of months of use for each program type are also shown in the exhibit (third and fourth columns for SUB families, fifth and sixth columns for UC families) for only those families who ever used a given program type.72 As one might expect, given that housing subsidies were readily available to SUB families, the number of months of SUB intervention use is higher for participating SUB fam - ilies (median of 18 months) than for the 12.4 percent of UC families who received the SUB intervention by coming off waiting lists for assisted housing (median of 11 months).

The median length for the SUB group implies that the typi-cal SUB family who took up the intervention enrolled a few months after random assignment and kept the subsidy for the entire study period. The typical UC family who received SUB did so about 10 months after random assignment and then kept the subsidy for the remainder of the study period.

Whereas the previous columns consider all experience from between randomization and the survey, the last two columns consider the program use as of the month of the survey.

Although most outcomes in the report are expected to be influenced by assistance received during the entire followup period, some outcomes will be particularly strongly influ-enced by assistance received at the time of followup survey response. The last two columns of the exhibit show the percentages of SUB and UC families who received each type of program in the calendar month of the followup survey response. The first row of the seventh column shows that 75 percent of SUB families received SUB assistance in the month they responded to the followup survey. The majority of UC families (56 percent) were not participating in a home - less or housing program at the time they responded to the followup survey compared with only 18 percent of SUB families. Some differences in the outcomes of SUB and UC

families may reflect the families’ current experience, rather than lasting influence of assistance provided earlier in the followup period.

As Exhibit 6-2 makes clear, the SUB families used a range of programs in addition to the program to which they were referred by the study, which is consistent with the design of the study. Families were not required to use the intervention to which they were assigned and were also not forbidden from using other programs that were available to them in their community. The intent of the study was to maximize use of the assigned active intervention (in this case, maximize use of the SUB intervention by the SUB families) and thereby to create as wide a contrast as possible between program mixes for the different assignment groups (in this case, SUB versus UC). As shown in the exhibit, the mix of programs used was very different for the SUB group than for the UC group. The contrast in usage of SUB of 84.2 percent for SUB families compared with 12.4 percent for UC families is large.

Adding together the four rows with permanent housing sub - sidies (SUB, permanent supportive housing, public housing, and project-based assistance), the contrast between the two groups was 87.1 compared with 29.6 percent, respectively, a somewhat narrower gap but still quite large. This difference in the use of permanent housing subsidies by the SUB and UC groups is large enough that concerns about the study’s ability to detect an impact in the presence of nonparticipation and crossover are minimal.

Additional detail about the use of the SUB intervention by SUB families is shown in Exhibit 6-3. This exhibit shows that by far most SUB families who used the SUB intervention did so for 12 or more months.

The remainder of the chapter reports estimated impacts in the various outcome domains that—if statistically significant—

can be causally attributed to the offer of a permanent housing subsidy to the families randomly assigned to SUB at the start of the followup period as opposed to no such privileged access being available to UC families.

72 Hence, 0 values are not factored into the means, nor do they pull downward the medians of the various distributions.

Short-Term Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families 66 Chapter 6. Impacts of Permanent Housing Subsidy (SUB) Compared With Usual Care (UC)

Exhibit 6-3. Number of Months of Subsidy Receipt During Followup Period by SUB Families Who Ever Used SUB

SUB = permanent housing subsidy.

a Percentages are weighted for survey nonresponse to represent all families in comparison sample.

Note: N = 446.

Source: Family Options Study Program Usage Data

6.3 Impacts on Housing Stability

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