Gender differences in response to homelessness services

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Gender, Homelessness, Severe mental illness, Homelessness services, Guaranteed housing, Random regression


This study examines the importance of considering gender in evaluating the effectiveness of homelessness service interventions among solitary adults with severe mental illnesses. The participants received services in one of two types of evidenced-based homelessness intervention programs: a comprehensive housing program or a specialized case management program. Using a quasi-experimental research design with non-random assignment to conditions, we examined changes in housing status, mental health, substance use, quality of life, and physical health from baseline to 6 and 12 months afterward. One hundred and fifty-two participants completed the baseline interview and 108 were available for at least one of the follow-up interviews. The results indicated that males had significantly greater reductions in homelessness in the comprehensive housing program than in the specialized case management program, whereas females showed a more complex pattern. Women in both programs showed significant reductions in homelessness, but females in the specialized case management program achieved greater stable housing time because women in the comprehensive housing program were more likely to have their time in stable housing reduced by stays in psychiatric hospitals. We conclude that variables such as gender that have been shown to influence the etiology, nature, and course of homelessness should also be considered in evaluating the effectiveness of homeless services interventions.