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Thursday, September 26, 2013 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM EDT
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United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern NJ 
1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Joe Willard 
People's Emergency Center 

Growing Up Homeless: The SHiFT Report 

Register now to attend the forum on The Service and Housing Interventions for Families in Transition (SHIFT) Longitudinal Study.  SHiFT examines the effectiveness of different housing and service models in helping families who are experiencing homelessness establish and maintain residential stability and self-sufficiency. Research has documented the importance of housing vouchers, sometimes in combination with case management, in increasing residential stability and other positive outcomes. However, studies of the impact of specific types of housing programs on families are far more limited (Bassuk & Geller, 2006). The SHIFT study contributes to our knowledge of the needs and characteristics of homeless families and children and the corresponding supports and services necessary to ensure residential stability among various subgroups of families.

Dr. Maureen Hayes will present the findings.  Dr. Hayes is the Project Director for the SHIFT Study. Dr. Hayes is also the lead evaluator for the Campaign to End Child Homelessness. Prior to her work with The National Center, she was a research associate at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Maureen received her PhD in Social Work with a specialization in children and families from Fordham University, and her Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The SHIFT study is timely given the recent shift in national policies regarding homelessness. During the previous ten years, the federal government primarily addressed the chronic homeless population, the majority of whom are individuals with physical health, mental health and substance use issues who have been homeless for long periods (CDC, 2010; Williams & Hall, 2009). With the change in administration in 2008, policy has shifted to include other homeless subgroups including homeless families and children. In June, 2010, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released a report, Opening Doors. One of its major goals is to end child and family homelessness in ten years.  To accomplish this, policies must be informed by accurate data about the most effective strategies to help homeless families achieve and maintain residential stability and self-sufficiency.

The overall goals of the SHIFT study were to document the needs of women and their children who are homeless, and to understand which housing programs are most effective. The study compared the characteristics and outcomes of families residing in three different types of housing programs: emergency shelter; transitional housing; and permanent supportive housing.

PEC's Growing Up Homeless series is a four-part series of policy and research forums being produced by PEC to help inform the work of providers serving homeless youth in the Greater Philadelphia area.