Abstract: Community Integration When Moving on from Permanent Supportive Housing (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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Community Integration When Moving on from Permanent Supportive Housing

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Kristen Gurdak, MSW, PhD student, New York University, New York, NY
Emmy Tiderington, PhD, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Ana Stefancic, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University, NY
Background: Permanent supportive housing (PSH) has demonstrated increased housing stability and improved health for formerly homeless individuals. Unfortunately, demand for PSH units is higher than the supply. Moving On initiatives (MOIs) provide PSH residents, who choose and are able to graduate, with assistance in accessing and transitioning to mainstream affordable housing. These initiatives are proliferating across the country, yet few studies have examined MOI recipient outcomes and despite extensive research on community integration within PSH, no studies to date have examined community integration after residents move on from PSH. These are key questions since moving on from PSH entails the possibility of moving to a new neighborhood, a new residence, and a new configuration of service supports. Such transitions may present formerly homeless individuals leaving PSH with both opportunities and challenges in regard to community integration.

Methods: Our study used a pre-post design to examine the outcomes of community integration domains from a larger evaluation of a Moving-On Initiative. Participants completed baseline interviews while in PSH (n=90) and, for those who moved on, a follow-up one-year post-move (n=45). Bivariate analyses and OLS regression were used to examine community integration outcomes and potential correlates. Measures used included the Brief Sense of Community Index (BSCI), the External Integration Scale (EIS), and the Lehman Brief Quality of Life (QOL) survey to assess community integration outcomes as well as measures to assess housing quality, neighborhood quality, and mastery as potential correlates.

Results: Participants who moved on had significantly lower scores on the BSCI domain measuring mutual concerns and community values, but no other differences were significant. T-tests indicated that scores were significantly higher post-move for social subjective QOL and the BSCI subdomain community values/mutual concerns. On the EIS, the number of days people participated in various activities was significantly lower post-move, while the number of hours spent at home was significantly higher. In regression analyses post-move, females had higher scores on family objective QOL, but lower sense of community compared to males. Higher mastery was associated with greater satisfaction with family relationships and with more days spent participating in activities. In contrast, higher housing quality was associated with fewer days spent participating in activities.

Implications: Moving on from PSH did not appear to adversely affect the majority of outcomes. Notable exceptions were post-move decreases in physical integration (i.e., days participating in activities and more time spent home). Our findings suggest that movers may need additional support prior to and during the transition from PSH to improve post-move community integration in the physical integration domain. Given that none of the variables explored in this analysis were significantly associated with social relationship QOL, further research is needed to identify correlates and thus potential strategies for additional support in the move on process. Overall, the positive associations between mastery and domains of community integration highlight a potential intervention target during the transition for providers to facilitate outcomes post-move.