The use of short-term rental subsidy vouchers offers a new approach to addressing the housing needs of families facing homelessness. In Massachusetts, the Family Home pilot program placed homeless families in housing instead of shelter, providing two years of rental subsidy plus support services with the goal of enabling families to maintain market rate housing. This mixed-method case study complements staff and participant interview data with participant survey and administrative data to evaluate the implementation and short-term outcomes of Family Home in one region. Data point to improved family well-being in housing but also persistent barriers to achieving longer-term housing and economic stability. Of the families who had exited the program at the end of the study, one quarter were able to retain their housing at market rate, only 9% returned to shelter, and one in five moved in with families/friends. Lack of affordable housing in a high rental cost region and jobs that pay living wages were among the major reasons that families struggled to maintain housing. This research points to the need for integrating supportive services from the program's start, including targeted workforce development, to plan for the end of the short-term rental subsidy. (author abstract)
Home for now: A mixed-methods evaluation of a short-term housing support program for homeless families
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