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Evaluation of LA’s HOPE: Ending chronic homelessness through employment and housing—Final report. (Burt 2007)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Low Causal Evidence

Citation

Burt, M. (2007). Evaluation of LA’s HOPE: Ending chronic homelessness through employment and housing—Final report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Labor.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of Los Angeles’ Homeless Opportunity Providing Employment (HOPE) program on employment, housing, and income.
  • The study used a quasi-experimental design in which the authors compared participants in the HOPE program with participants in other programs that provided many of the same services but not its specialized housing and employment resources. The authors presented direct comparisons, as well as comparisons that adjusted for the groups’ differences in age, race, mental health diagnoses, and recent experience of homelessness and incarceration.
  • This review was conducted in collaboration with the Employment Strategies for Low-Income Adults Evidence Review (ESER). Because ESER did not report findings for studies that received a low causal evidence rating, the CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not account for differences between members of the program and comparisons groups or show that they were similar when they joined the study. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Los Angeles’ HOPE program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Los Angeles’ Homeless Opportunity Providing Employment (HOPE)

Features of the Intervention

HOPE was launched in Los Angeles in 2003 to demonstrate similar programs’ ability to improve employment and housing outcomes among chronically homeless adults with mental health conditions. After a two-year pilot process, the evaluation report began. In addition to the integrated housing and mental health services generally available to people in the target population in Los Angeles, HOPE offered enhanced housing-first housing services and specialized employment services, including job search assistance, trainings, resume development, and job coaching.

Features of the Study

The study used a quasi-experimental design in which the author compared participants in the HOPE program with participants in other programs that provided many of the same services but not its specialized housing and employment resources. The author formed two comparison groups: one consisted of people who received integrated housing and mental health assistance from the same organizations that served HOPE participants but who did not receive enhanced housing or employment services from HOPE, and another consisted of people who received housing and mental health assistance from other integrated providers in Los Angeles. They referred to these groups as the affiliated comparison group and the other comparison group, respectively.

The author presented direct comparisons between each of these groups, as well as comparisons that adjusted for groups’ differences in age, race, mental health diagnoses, and recent experience of homelessness and incarceration.

Findings

  • This review was conducted in collaboration with ESER. Because ESER did not report findings for studies that received a low causal evidence rating, the CLEAR profile does not report the findings either.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The HOPE and comparison groups might have differed in terms of important factors, including motivation, education, and employment and earnings histories more than one year before program enrollment. The author did not measure nor adjust for these potential differences, but these factors could have contributed to the differences in outcomes the author attributed to the HOPE program.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not account for differences between members of the program and comparisons groups or show that they were similar when they joined the study. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to LA’s HOPE; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Additional Sources

Burt, M. (2012). Impact of housing and work supports on outcomes for chronically homeless adults with mental illness: LA’s HOPE. Psychiatric Services, 63(3), 209-215.

Reviewed by CLEAR

November 2016

Topic Area