Stable Homes, Brighter Futures: Evaluation of First Year of Supportive Housing for Tranistion Age Youth Initiative

CSH is pleased to share our year one evaluation report on our Stable Homes, Brighter Futures initiative in Los Angeles, a three-year initiative to better understand the supportive housing intervention for transition age youth (TAY), ages 18-25.  With the support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the W.M Keck Foundation, and the California Wellness Foundation, CSH provided flexible grants to supportive housing providers to strengthen neighborhood-based pockets of capacity to house and serve homeless youth and young adults.

The goals of the initiative are to:

  • Increase the capacity of organizations in LA County to develop and operate high-quality supportive housing for transition age youth (TAY).
  • Create a safety net of housing and services for TAY that includes health, mental health, education, and employment.
  • Collaborate with agencies and partner organizations to secure adequate and coordinated public funding mechanisms.

This first-year report captures quantitative and qualitative data on the characteristics, service utilization, and early outcomes for TAY supportive housing tenants.  Harder+Company Community Research is the evaluator for the initiative.  Providers survey youth tenants at entry (baseline) and every six months, in the areas of health, education, employment, and self-sufficiency.  The findings in this report reflect data collected in 2013.

Among the key findings:

  • Youth and young adults in these supportive housing communities are older, with the average age at entry being twenty-two.  Prior to entering supportive housing, 51% of youth identified as being literally homeless, 33% were in transitional housing, 2% were in a permanent housing setting, and 9% identified as being unstably housed.
  • Although the vast majority of youth entering supportive housing are unemployed (85%), 62% have worked for pay, and 15% were employed at baseline.
  • Thirty-eight percent of youth had received their high school diploma prior to entering supportive housing, while 23% had completed their GED.  Twenty-nine percent had dropped out of high school, and 2% were currently attending GED programs or high school completion courses.
  • Many reported struggling with mental health challenges (82%).  However, since moving into supportive housing, 71% felt their mental health symptoms had decreased.  The graph shows other changes that TAY tenants have reported thus far.

Of course, there are also challenges that youth as well as providers face that include: increasing service utilization, improving coordination between support services and property management, and increasing consistent funding resources to provide the services that youth need.  Among the biggest questions discussed by providers as well as youth:

  • How long should a young person stay in supportive housing?
  • How do you distinguish and support those who would like to move on and those who really need support past age 25?
  • What are developmentally appropriate expectations of youth and young adults in supportive housing, given that many of the youth have experienced tremendous trauma in the past?
  • What are the goals for youth and young adults in supportive housing?

These and other issues are identified in this first year report.  Through this initiative, we will continue to discuss and hopefully find solutions to these issues.

The Stable Homes, Brighter Futures providers have implemented a range of supportive housing models that include single-site, all-TAY buildings; mixed population communities; scattered-site apartments in the community; and shared housing in single family homes.  CSH is proud to be learning in partnership with these providers and look forward to deepening our understanding of the supportive housing model for youth and young adults.

The Year One Evaluation report is available here.

With the generous sponsorship of Bank of America, CSH will be hosting a TAY Supportive Housing Symposium on Monday, April 7, 2014 to engage the community in a data-informed discussion about the supportive housing model for TAY.

TAY Supportive Housing Symposium
Monday, April 7, 2014
9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Joan Palevsky Center for the Future of Los Angeles
281 S. Figueroa St., Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Click here for more information or to RSVP.

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