Study on Transitional Housing Takes a Closer Look
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds over 7,000 transitional housing programs that offer 220,000 beds, according to a new report by the Urban Institute. The report, “Characteristics of Transitional Housing for Homeless Families,” was written in preparation for a larger study sponsored by HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. The report covers 53 transitional housing programs in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Detroit and parts of Wayne County, Michigan; Houston and Harris County, Texas; San Diego City and County, California; and Seattle and King County, Washington.
The average length of stay in transitional housing programs included in the study was 12 months with 62 percent of program participants leaving before the 12 month mark. A majority of transitional housing programs (85 percent) in the study required program participants to be clean and sober at entry, 81 percent of programs have rules against using alcohol, and 100 percent have rules against using illegal substances. The report also examines housing outcomes after transitional housing finding that on average 35 percent left for permanent housing without a subsidy, 22 percent left for housing with a subsidy, 13 percent left with a subsidy and supports (this category can include PSH), 13 percent reunited with family, and 4 percent returned to homelessness. According to the report, 23 percent of participants exiting transitional housing do not have successful exits; about half of these families leave on their own and the other are terminated from the program involuntarily.
The reports findings are based on administrative data from HUD and surveys of program administrators.