Housing Matters, Services Might: Findings from the High Needs Families Program Evaluation

Debra J. Rog, Kathryn A. Henderson, Clara A. Wagner, Emily L. Abbruzzi - The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science


Permanent supportive housing for families experiencing homelessness—typically, subsidized housing that is not time limited and provides access to a range of support services—has substantially increased over the past 10 years, despite an absence of rigorous evidence of its effectiveness. We examine the benefits of subsidized housing with supportive services compared to subsidized housing alone. Our findings suggest that supportive housing offers more opportunities for access to services and benefits than subsidized housing alone, but it may not be beneficial to families’ housing stability or to family members’ employment or involvement with the criminal justice system. We argue that housing that is coupled with intensive case management, that is service rich, and that provides and adheres to harm reduction principles may help to strengthen supportive housing’s effectiveness.