Social skills are an important and underappreciated determinant of housing outcomes for homeless Veterans. Yet, social skills interventions are uncommon within VA homeless services.
This study aims to develop and study the implementation and effectiveness of a "skills intervention"--built from existing, effective social skills interventions and focused on housing-related social skills--tailored to the VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program. This intervention will be co-delivered by a peer and a social worker, aiming to improve VASH participants' housing retention and mental health. Using the theoretical framework of the Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations, with guidance from the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, the Aims are to: 1) develop a intervention that improves housing retention and mental health among homeless Veterans; 2) in a controlled pilot trial, study the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the intervention on factors strongly associated with improved housing retention and mental health among homeless Veterans; and 3) examine barriers to and facilitators of future implementation of the intervention in routine VASH care.
For Aim 1, we conducted key informant interviews with experts in social skills training (n=12); used the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method to convene a panel (n=11) of experts in homelessness and psychosocial rehabilitation; conducted a focus group (n=7) with local homeless program leadership and frontline clinicians; and have planned a focus group (n=12) with homeless Veterans. Aims 2 and 3 entail a controlled effectiveness-implementation hybrid type 1 pilot trial. For Aim 2, we will implement the intervention at the VA Greater Los Angeles (GLA) Domiciliary with homeless Veterans engaged in VASH. We will assess the intervention's feasibility and acceptability, comparing changes over 6 months in social skills, service use, social interactions, and money management among Veterans who receive the intervention (n=30) vs. a control group (n=20). For Aim 3, we will use surveys and qualitative methods to explore barriers to and facilitators of implementation of the intervention in routine care.
Not yet available.
To accelerate efforts to improve care for homeless Veterans, we must implement novel services that are effective in other VA settings but have not been implemented within homeless services. .
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