Online Program

Factors associated with consumer engagement in supported housing

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sonya Gabrielian, MD, MPH, Psychiatry, West Los Angeles VA / UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Alaina Burns, MD, MPH, UCLA Semel Institue, Los Angeles, CA
Nupur Nanda, VA Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Gerhard Hellemann, PhD, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, CA
Vincent Kane, MSW, National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Philadelphia, PA
Alexander Young, MD, MSHS, Psychiatry, UCLA & Greater Los Angeles VA, Los Angeles, CA

Many homeless consumers who enroll in supported housing programs—which offer subsidized housing and supportive services—disengage prematurely, before placement in permanent, community-based housing. We sought to identify factors associated with premature exits from supported housing, before housing placement.


Using administrative data, we obtained a roster of VA Los Angeles’ supported housing enrollees from 2011-2012. We matched consumers who exited the program before achieving housing (“exiters,” n=51) 1:1 on age, gender, marital status, and race/ethnicity with consumers who achieved housing (“stayers,” n=51). We reviewed medical records to compare diagnoses, healthcare utilization, housing histories, vocational history, and criminal-justice involvement between these two groups. We identified exiters’ housing outcomes and used recursive partitioning to highlight variables best-differentiating exiters from stayers.


Several factors were significantly associated with premature program exits: residing in temporary housing on hospital grounds at program enrollment, substance abuse, hepatitis C, chronic pain, justice-involvement, poor adherence to outpatient care, frequent Emergency Room utilization, and medical/surgical admissions. After exiting, >50% of exiters became street homeless or incarcerated. Recursive partitioning highlighted two variables sufficient to capture information from 42 predictors to classify consumers as exiters vs. stayers. Consumers living on hospital grounds at program enrollment were predicted to exit. Among those living elsewhere, those with excellent adherence to outpatient medical/surgical care were predicted to stay.


Our findings highlight several factors associated with premature exits from supported housing programs. Future work is needed to implement and evaluate interventions addressing these factors, adapted to the context of supported housing programs.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors associated with exiting a supported housing program before achieving housing placement. Describe housing outcomes for consumers who exit supported housing programs before achieving housing placement.

Keyword(s): Homelessness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of this research study and a psychiatrist who treats homeless consumers and studies ways to improve this population's health and housing outcomes.
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.