270224 Barriers to Succesful Sompletion of Transitional Supportive Housing Programs for Older Veterans

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lisa M. Brown, PhD , School of Aging Studies, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Victor Molinari, PhD , School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Kathryn Frahm, PhD , Department of Mental Health and Aging Disparities, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Roger Casey, PhD , National Center on Homeless Among Veterans, Tampa, FL
John Schinka, PhD , National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, Tampa, FL
The objectives of this study were to explore factors that produce homelessness in older veterans and identify barriers to succesful completion of a transitional supportive housing program. A series of focus groups were conducted to examine the perspectives of homeless veterans (six groups; n=45), service providers (three groups; n=10), and VA staff attending a national, homelessness VA program (three groups: n=14). Veterans ranged in age from 49-72, educations ranged from fifth grade to graduate level; highest job positions varied from handyman to corporate executive. Ethnic composition included White, African-American, and Hispanic veterans. Time spent homeless prior to entry into the transitional supportive housing program ranged from immediate entry from prison to three years. The four themes that emerged included the negative homelessness experience, benefits of the structured transitional housing program, peer outreach to assist homeless veterans who are ready to change, and the need for age tailored employment training and job placement programs. VA Staff and service providers recognized that the needs of older homeless veterans were different from younger veterans. Three major themes emerged from the VA staff and provider groups: the strong belief that the transitional housing program made a difference, the need to individualize criteria to address the unique needs of veterans, and the distinct differences between older and younger homeless veterans in terms of less social support, greater employment challenges, and more significant health care needs. This study provides new perspectives on the needs and differences between older and younger homeless veterans.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List two barriers to positive outcomes in housing intervention programs for older homeless veterans

Keywords: Homelessness, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor of Aging Studies and a well-published researcher in aging with a recent interest in the impact of aging on homelessness.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.