Consumer preference programs for individuals who are homeless and have psychiatric disabilities: A drop-in center and a supported housing program

Sam J. Tsemberis, Linda Moran, Marybeth Shinn, Sara M. Asmussen, David L. Shern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We illustrate Fairweather's approach to Experimental Social Innovation and Dissemination with two experimental studies of programs to reduce homelessness for 168 and 225 people with mental illness and often substance abuse. Literally homeless participants were randomly assigned to programs that emphasized consumer choice or to the usual continuum of care, in which housing and services are contingent on sobriety and progress in treatment. A drop-in center that eliminated barriers to access to services was more successful than control programs in reducing homelessness, but after 24 months only 38% of participants had moved to community housing. A subsequent apartment program, in which individuals in the experimental condition moved to subsidized apartments directly from the street, with services under their control, had 79% in stable housing (compared to 27% in the control group) at the end of 6 months. Groups in this study did not differ on substance abuse or psychosocial outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-317
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume32
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Consumer choice
  • Homelessness
  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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