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Compass Project: A Community-Based Approach to Homeless Youth Prevention and Early Intervention
Monday, November 17, 2014
Introduction: The Compass Project is a community-based initiative in Worcester, MA that focuses on the primary and secondary prevention of homelessness among transitional age youth, ages 16-24. The initiative utilizes a three-pronged approach that includes individual case management, development and coordination of a community service network, and local/state advocacy to change policies impacting services and benefits for youth. Methods: Intensive case management is assessed using instruments embedded in the routine work of case managers. Instruments include an adaptation of the Arizona Self Sufficiency Matrix, Casey Life Skills Assessment, Life Satisfaction Scale, and subscales from the Family Environment Scale. The Network is evaluated using an annual satisfaction survey, attendance at monthly meetings, and referral patterns identified through analysis of a common screening tool used by network agencies. Advocacy efforts are assessed by tracking community education events and changes in social policies. Results: To-date, 45 youth have enrolled in intensive case management services. Thirty-four (76%) were in the early stages of homelessness (6 months or less) and 11 (24%) were at-risk of homelessness. Approximately 68% of youth who were homeless at baseline had housing at their last follow-up, most achieving this goal within 3 months. Improvements are also seen in social and emotional health, including family and social relations, life skills, and locus of control. Changes in these outcomes are more pronounced between 6 and 12 months of engagement. Conclusions: This presentation highlights the benefits of utilizing a community-based approach to building capacity to effectively support youth most vulnerable to long-term homelessness.
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy
Describe a community-based approach to addressing youth homelessness in a mid-sized city
Identify the programs and services associated with improvements in housing status, socio-emotional health, and life skills among youth
Discuss the challenges of evaluating a community-based intervention
Keyword(s): Homelessness, Youth
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have led the evaluation of the intervention and analyzed the data that will be presented.
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.