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Incarceration histories of homeless veterans and progression through a national supported housing program.

Tejani N, Rosenheck R, Tsai J, Kasprow W, McGuire JF. Incarceration histories of homeless veterans and progression through a national supported housing program. Community mental health journal. 2014 Jul 1; 50(5):514-9.

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Abstract:

There is increasing concern that adults with a past history of incarceration are at particular disadvantage in exiting homelessness. Supported housing with case management has emerged as the leading service model for assisting homeless adults; however there has been limited examination of the success of adults with past history of incarceration in obtaining housing within this paradigm. Data were examined on 14,557 veterans who entered a national supported housing program for homeless veterans, the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) during 2008 and 2009, to identify characteristics associated with a history of incarceration and to evaluate whether those with a history of incarceration are less likely to obtain housing and/or more likely to experience delays in the housing attainment process. Veterans who reported no past incarceration were compared with veterans with short incarceration histories ( = 1 year) and those with long incarceration histories ( > 1 year). A majority of participants reported history of incarceration; 43 % reported short incarceration histories and 22 % reported long incarceration histories. After adjusting for baseline characteristics and site, history of incarceration did not appear to impede therapeutic alliance, progression through the housing process or obtaining housing. Within a national supported housing program, veterans with a history of incarceration were just as successful at obtaining housing in similar time frames when compared to veterans without any past incarceration. Supported housing programs, like HUD-VASH, appear to be able to overcome impediments faced by formerly incarcerated homeless veterans and therefore should be considered a a good model for housing assistance programs.





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