Evaluation of the inner city youth at risk project and the inner city assertive outreach service.

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Tags:
Date Commenced:
11/2010
Project Supporters:

NSW Department of Health - Health Administration Corporation Contract Research

Project Members: 
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Ms Elizabeth Whittaker
Research Officer
Project Main Description: 

The traditional response of the human service system to the needs of homeless people experiencing mental health conditions involves specialist homelessness, drug and alcohol, and mental health services providing support in a largely autonomous fashion. Cross-sector co-ordination of services is typically limited to referrals from one service domain to another together with limited information sharing and communication. This research involves the evaluation of the effectiveness of two projects funded under the NSW Implementation Plan of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, the Inner City Assertive Outreach Service (or ‘Way2Home’) and the Inner City Youth at Risk Project, both of which are based on integrated service models. The evaluation will examine the effectiveness of the two projects in terms of their ability to achieve both operational and client-based effectiveness criteria and in particular, will seek to assess the impact of the projects on the health, housing, social and economic targets of the two initiatives.

Aims: 

This proposal involves the evaluation of the effectiveness of two projects funded under the NSW Implementation Plan of the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Homelessness, the Inner City Assertive Outreach Service and the Inner City Youth at Risk Project.

In respect of the Inner City Assertive Outreach Model, the aims of the evaluation study are to:

  • Examine whether the Inner City Assertive Outreach Model has successfully implemented a best practice model of Assertive Outreach and of Housing First Principles
  • Determine whether effective integrated support has been provided to clients across a range of housing and health needs
  • Assess the extent to which the Model has achieved positive health and housing outcomes for clients and is more effective than existing programs in achieving positive client outcomes
  • Assess the key factors leading to identified successes or barriers for the Inner City Assertive Outreach Model with specific reference to the role of the Housing First model, partnerships, the Assertive Outreach approach and the access to services and housing
  • Evaluate the extent to which the Model led to positive NPA performance benchmark indicator outcomes
  • Determine the overall effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Model
  • Detail any relevant implications for future NSW Government policy in addressing homelessness.

 

In respect of the Inner City Youth at Risk Project, the evaluation study seeks to:

  • Assess the extent to which the Inner City Youth at Risk Project meets the needs of both young people with high needs who were rough sleepers or chronically homeless as well as homeless young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with low to moderate needs
  • Determine the extent to which the Project improves the sustainability of tenancies for those clients who received a tenancy and support package
  • Evaluate the extent to which the Project improved access to mainstream health supports and identification of those young adults and youth at risk through the development of interagency partnerships with mainstream services and specialist homelessness services
  • Assess the extent to which the Project achieves positive health, housing and social and economic outcomes for young people
  • Assess the key factors leading to identified successes or barriers for the Project with specific reference to interagency collaboration; partnerships; referral pathways and resource availability (services and housing)
  • Evaluate the extent to which the Model led to positive NPA performance benchmark indicator outcomes
  • Determine the overall effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Model
  • Detail any relevant implications for future NSW Government policy in addressing homelessness.
Design and Method: 

The study utilises a mixed methods design involving quantitative and qualitative components:

  1. Client Outcomes Survey
  2. Case Studies of a sub-sample of clients and their primary support worker
  3. Cost Effectiveness Analysis (using both Survey and administrative data)
  4. In-depth Interviews with key stakeholders regarding service capacity and integration issues
Progress/Update: 

For the Inner City Assertive Outreach Model (Way2Home): The 12-month report from this evaluation has now been completed and sent to the funders.                                                         

  • Data collection for this project has been completed. We have interviewed clients at baseline, 12-months and 24-months post baseline. Qualitative interviews have been completed with a number of clients who have been housed, and stakeholders who gave us indications of the strengths and pitfalls of the program.

For the Inner City Youth at Risk Project: The final report from this evaluation has now been completed and sent to the funders.

  • The final report examined the findings from those young people who completed the baseline interview, and individual changes amongst those young people who completed both baseline and 12-month follow-up interviews. In addition to this, a number of semi-structured qualitative interviews were completed with clients who obtained housing through this program and key stakeholders to understand the impact of this program on the lives of individual clients. Cost analyses of the brokerage component of the program, as well as the total costs of the program, were conducted.
Output: 

Presentations:

Elizabeth Whittaker & Lucy Burns, Evaluations of homelessness services and pathways home, NDARC Seminar Series, Sydney, 19 September 2013.

Reports:

Whittaker, E., Schollar-Root, O., Zaretzky, K., Burns, L. 2013. Evaluation of the Inner City Youth at Risk Project: Final Report. Funded by NSW Ministry of Health. 30 November 2013.

Project Research Area: 
Project Status: 
Completed
Year Completed: 
2013