The Urban Institute’s new report “Does Supportive Housing Keep Families Together?” finds that supportive housing has an overall positive impact on families involved in the child welfare system. In looking across five demonstration sites— Broward County (FL), Cedar Rapids (IA), Connecticut, Memphis (TN), and San Francisco (CA)—the study observed that families receiving housing subsidies and intensive services generally fared better than those that did not.
Building off previous demonstrations, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System pilot was designed to prevent the removal of children from their families due to abuse or neglect, increase and expedite family reunifications, and improve family health and well-being.
Urban’s mixed-method randomized control trial found that treatment families reported greater housing stability than control families one year after enrollment. Although there was not a significant reduction in removals among the treatment group, treatment families were twice as likely to be reunited with their children over the course of the year than control families. Children in treatment families also showed some improved educational outcomes, including fewer expulsions and suspensions and higher rates of enrollment in early education. Urban will continue monitoring treatment and control families over the next several years to measure long-term effects of supportive housing for this population.