Methods: YAEH who resided in RRH apartments in one city were recruited through case managers at agencies that provided YA-specific RRH. Respondents (n=10) participated in an interview conducted and audio recorded through zoom and received a $20 gift card. Researchers used a semi-structured guide focused on transition from homelessness to RRH, getting and staying housed, mental health and health, unmet needs, and goals. We used an iterative, team-based approach to analyze transcripts, first using open coding to create a codebook, then testing and refining to enhance validity and reliability across coders. Coded passages were independently, then collectively reviewed and discussed to identify themes and subthemes.
Results: Participants were 22-24 years old, 60% had children, 100% were African-American, and 40% identified as male. The majority (80%) were not from the study city originally. Themes included homelessness story, getting housed, needed supports, and service needs beyond housing. Youth had often spent long periods on the street prior to housing and underlying causes for homelessness related to disrupted family and peer supports. Respondents generally expressed feeling relief when moving into an apartment due to safety, control of their own environment, and quiet. Some expressed anxiousness about responding to RRH program demands to get employment and contribute to rent. Some circumstances were noted to require special support including parenting, domestic violence and criminal history. Covid-19 emerged across themes and shaped aspects of getting into housing while loosening program timelines on contributing to rent. Mental health and employment supports were identified as primary needs but were not consistently addressed through RRH supports.
Conclusion: Findings highlight benefits of providing housing for young adults and improvements in their wellbeing that came with stable housing. YA housed through RRH had complex/specific needs that were not consistently addressed by a case manager whose main focus was housing support. RRH was noted to be a beneficial intervention but could be enhanced with structured models of case management such as Critical Time Intervention (Herman et al, 2007) paired with mental health and employment supports.