North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Vocational Outcomes Among Formerly Homeless Persons With Severe Mental Illness in the ACCESS Program

Objective: This study examined the vocational outcomes of 4,778 formerly homeless individuals with severe mental illness who were enrolled in the Access to Community Care and Effective Services and Support (ACCESS) program, a multisite demonstration project designed to provide services to this population.
Methods: Participants were interviewed at the time of enrollment and again three months and 12 months later by trained researchers who were not part of the treatment team to determine their employment status. At 12 months, participants were also asked about the types of services they had received during the past 60 days. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to predict employment at 12 months.
Results: ACCESS participants reported receiving relatively few job-related services. Nonetheless, modest but significant increases occurred between baseline and three months and between three months and 12 months in the total proportion of participants who were employed and who were employed full-time and in hourly earnings and estimated monthly earnings. The number of hours worked per week increased significantly between three months and 12 months. When the analysis controlled for site, study condition (whether the ACCESS site received or did not receive extra funds to improve service integration), minority status, addiction treatment, and mental health treatment, participants who were employed at 12 months were more likely to have received job training and job placement services.
Conclusions: Programs that work with homeless mentally ill persons may better serve their clients by placing as great an emphasis on providing employment services as on providing housing and clinical treatment. (Psychiatric Services 52: 1075–1080, 2001)
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Judith Cook
Author: Judith Cook
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