The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4020.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 9:00 AM

Abstract #61917

A Comparison of Homeless Families in Worcester, Massachusetts: 1993 vs. 2003

Linda Weinreb, MD, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, John C. Buckner, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Hunnewell 121, Boston, MA 02115, and Debra J. Rog, PhD, Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, 1915 I Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006, 202-833-3512,

Epidemiologic studies from the early 1990’s characterized the demographics and needs of the population of homeless families. The 1992-1994 Worcester Family Research Project (WFRP), a comprehensive study of homeless and low-income mothers and children funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, compared 220 mothers living in Worcester, Massachusetts’ nine family shelters to 216 low-income housed mothers who had never been homeless. This presentation will compare baseline interview data gathered in the Worcester site of a current CMHS/CSAT-funded study evaluating service programs for homeless families in eight sites with findings from the WFRP. The current Worcester study is using a quasi-experimental design to compare 90 homeless families enrolled in an intensive community health center-based intervention with 90 homeless families receiving services as usual. The environmental context, enrollment criteria, and most measures used to assess key constructs are similar between the two studies, enabling the isolation of population change as opposed to regional sample variation. Information on demographic characteristics, mental health and substance abuse, family violence, and health conditions between the two studies will be contrasted. While the two groups of homeless families appear to be similar in many domains, their differences suggest possible ways in which the population in Worcester has changed over the past 10 years. A comparison of the WFRP data with the CMHS/CSAT cross-site preliminary cross-site baseline findings will help to shed some light on how these population changes may be occurring more broadly. We will discuss potential reasons for these differences and implications for service delivery.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Design and Evaluation of Interventions for Homeless Families

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA