Home > Accommodation-based interventions for individuals experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.

Keenan, Ciara and Miller, Sarah and Hanratty, Jennifer and Pigott, Teri and Hamilton, Jayne and Coughlan, Christopher and Mackie, Peter and Fitzpatrick, Suzanne and Cowman, John (2021) Accommodation-based interventions for individuals experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 17, (2), e1165. https://doi.org/10.1002/cl2.1165.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cl2.11...

Objectives: This review examines the effectiveness of accommodation-based approaches on outcomes including housing stability, health, employment, crime, wellbeing, and cost for individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Main results: There was a total of 13,128 people included in the review, across 51 reports of 28 studies. Most of the included studies were carried out in the United States of America (25/28), with other locations including Canada and the UK. Sixteen studies were RCTs (57%) and 12 were nonrandomised (quasi-experimental) designs (43%). Assessment of methodological quality and potential for bias was conducted using the second version of the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool for Randomised controlled trials. Nonrandomised studies were coded using the ROBINS- I tool. Out of the 28 studies, three had sufficiently low ROB (11%), 11 (39%) had moderate ROB, and five (18%) presented serious problems with ROB, and nine (32%) demonstrated high, critical problems with their methodology. A NMA (Network Meta-Analysis) on housing stability outcomes demonstrates that interventions offering the highest levels of support alongside unconditional accommodation (High/Unconditional) were more effective in improving housing stability compared to basic support alongside unconditional housing (Basic/Unconditional) (ES=1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.39, 1.82]), and in comparison to a no-intervention control group (ES=0.62, 95% CI [0.19, 1.06]). A second NMA on health outcomes demonstrates that interventions categorised as offering Moderate/Conditional (ES= 0.36, 95% CI [0.03, 0.69]) and High/Unconditional (ES = 0.22, 95% CI [0.01, 0.43]) support were effective in improving health outcomes compared to no intervention. These effects were smaller than those observed for housing stability.

The quality of the evidence was relatively low but varied across the 28 included studies. Depending on the context, finding accommodation for those who need it can be hindered by supply and affordability in the market. The social welfare approach in each jurisdiction can impact heavily on support available and can influence some of the prejudice and stigma surrounding homelessness. The evaluations emphasised the need for collaboration and a shared commitment between policymakers, funders and practitioners which creates community and buy in across sectors and agencies. However, co-ordinating this is difficult and requires sustainability to work. For those implementing programmes, it was important to invest time in developing a culture together to build trust and solid relationships. Additionally, identifying sufficient resources and appropriate referral routes allows for better implementation planning. Involving staff and case workers in creating processes helps drive enthusiasm and energy for the service. Time should be allocated for staff to develop key skills and communicate engage effectively with service users. Finally, staff need time to develop trust and relationships with service users; this goes hand in hand with providing information that is up to date and useful as well making themselves accessible in terms of location and time.

Authors' conclusions
The network meta-analysis suggests that all types of accommodation which provided support are more effective than no intervention or Basic/Unconditional accommodation in terms of housing stability and health. The qualitative evidence synthesis raised a primary issue in relation to context: which was the lack of stable, affordable accommodation and the variability in the rental market, such that actually sourcing accommodation to provide for individuals who are homeless is extremely challenging. Collaboration between stakeholders and practitioners can be fruitful but difficult to coordinate across different agencies and organisations.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Review, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Rehabilitation/Recovery, Policy
May 2021
Identification #
Page Range
The Campbell Collaboration

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