Online Program

Evaluating models for homeless outreach and housing placement coordination utilizing the Central Referral System in Chicago

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kelly Nowicki, MPH, Research, Evaluation, and Data Services (REDS) Department, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Amy K Johnson, PhD, Adolescent Medicine, Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Central Referral System (CRS) is a centralized database utilized in Chicago, Illinois, in which homeless individuals and families enroll to be eligible for a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) unit. Outreach Coordination seeks to organize and utilize the City of Chicago’s mobile outreach teams to assist homeless households as they are selected from CRS until they reach PSH. The Center for Housing and Health (CHH) designed two pilot outreach coordination models to identify and house clients selected from the CRS:
  • Model 1. Housing coordinators identify clients from the CRS and refer them to an outreach provider, who locates and engages them, and attempts to link them with a housing provider.
  • Model 2. Housing providers identify clients from the CRS and only refer them for outreach coordination if they are unable to engage clients directly.

A mixed methods analysis consisting of quantitative and qualitative evaluations of these models were conducted to determine the efficacy of each model. At the end of the yearlong pilot, Model 1 had identified 162 clients from the CRS, engaged 142, and housed 74 with partnering providers.  Model 2 received 49 referrals from housing providers for outreach assistance, engaged 21, and housed 2 with partnering providers. While Model 1 is more resource intensive, it was more successful compared to Model 2 due to the automatic engagement by an outreach team. These models can be adapted to other central referral databases for homeless and housing services.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Compare two pilot outreach coordination models using a central database, designed to assist people experiencing homelessness into Permanent Supportive Housing. Describe the different strategies utilized by each outreach coordination model. Evaluate the efficacy of each outreach coordination model in terms how many clients they referred, engaged and ultimately housed.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Research and Evaluation Manager for the past three years and oversee programs related to housing/homelessness, mental health, substance use, and HIV prevention and care.
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.