Successful Long-Term Outcomes of Previously Transitionally-Housed Female-Headed Families
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Despite efforts on the part of federal, state, and local government as well as concerned community organizations, homelessness, especially among female-headed families, has continued to increase. Despite the need for outcome studies and an increased understanding of how to serve these families, few research studies have attempted to determine what factors contribute to long-term success. The current study explored the impacts of therapy, substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and social support on long-term success for women who were previously transitionally housed. In addition, the children's self-esteem, self-efficacy, substance abuse, and mental illness were also taken into account. Success was defined as either six months or more stable housing or six months or more stable employment. The majority of the participants met criteria for success by at least one definition, and half of the participants were successful by both definitions. It was found that the optimal length of stay in a transitional housing center is one year, with longer stays being less likely to contribute to permanent housing. Women who were successfully housed reported more psychological symptoms than those who were not, identifying the need for follow-up services for past-residents of shelters and transitional housing centers, who are likely experiencing increased stress as they attempt to live independently. Overall, there was a low prevalence of substance abuse among both women and children. Further, children were not found to be likely to report psychological symptoms. Children whose mothers were successfully housed were found to have greater personal and social self-esteem as well as consider academics more important than those whose mothers were not successfully housed. The results of the current study indicate the effectiveness of a specific transitional housing center located in Dallas, Texas, the Shared Housing Center.