North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Housing Help Program: Homelessness Prevention Pilot Final Report

In June 2010, Seedco and the United Way of New York City released the results of an evaluation of a homelessness prevention program targeted at low income families facing eviction - the Housing Help Program (HHP). The study reports on the outcomes of 1,059 families that received a combination of legal, benefits, and social services intended to prevent evictions and subsequent shelter entry. HHP differs from other eviction prevention models applied in New York City and elsewhere in its emphasis on early intervention, location in the court house, team-based approach, inclusion of a social worker, and access to long-term social services. The evaluation found that 91 percent of the families served by HHP achieved positive court or housing outcomes and that just fewer than six percent were known to have entered shelter in the three years following their participation in the program.

The report also includes an interesting cost-benefit analysis that attempts to assess the degree to which the program not only prevented evictions but also prevented homelessness that would have occurred without the program. Such an analysis is critical to evaluating the success of prevention efforts. While the study did not include a control group (the preferred approach to addressing this question), the evaluators compared the shelter entry outcomes of the 1,059 HHP participants to the outcomes of those receiving the anti-eviction services of another New York City program. The comparison revealed that 51 of the 1,059 families served by HHP would have entered shelter without the program, resulting in an estimated annual cost savings of $737,376. An additional analysis confirmed the incremental economic benefit of the inclusion of a social worker on the HHP team.
 
Read the full report here or download it from the New York City government's website at www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/final_HHP_Seedco_rpt.pdf.
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