Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Paving the Way for a More Prosperous Future for Young Adults: Preliminary Results of an Outcomes Study of the Chelsea Foyer at the Christopher

Saturday, November 14, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jessica A Raithel1, Miranda Yates2, Amy Dworsky3, Maryanne Schretzman1, Whitney Welshimer2, Eileen Johns1 and Nebahat Noyan1, (1)NYC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services, (2)Good Shepherd Services, (3)Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Paving the way for a prosperous future for young people means making sure that they have access to opportunities that help them successfully navigate the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This transition can be a difficult one, and for some, it happens in a context of even greater challenges. Young people who are aging out of foster care or who are homeless require unique supports to help make this transition more productive, focused and successful.

Supportive housing programs that combine housing and targeted services have been shown to be a promising intervention for a variety of at-risk populations. The Chelsea Foyer at the Christopher, developed by Good Shepherd Services (GSS), is an innovative youth development and trauma-informed model for supportive housing that serves young adults who are aging out of foster care, homeless, and/or at risk of becoming homeless.

Understanding the true impact of such programs is often limited by many factors, including the availability and consistency of data on a wide range of outcomes, the inability to identify appropriate comparison groups, and other methodological challenges. This paper describes preliminary findings from an impact study that drew upon administrative data collected by multiple city agencies and data collected by a supportive housing program for young adults.  The study was made possible by an innovative collaboration between New York City’s Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI) within the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and Good Shepherd Services (GSS), a multi-service organization. Public system use and benefit receipt among program participants were compared to public system use and benefit receipt among a closely matched sample of non-participants. Participation in the program was associated with a reduction in single adult shelter use and jail stays during the two years after program entry even after controlling for other factors.

The preliminary results from this evaluation have promising programmatic and methodological implications. The lower rates of homeless shelter and jail stays for Foyer participants relative to their comparison group peers point to the benefits of this program model for young adults. The study also demonstrates the benefits of collaboration among key stakeholders and the possibilities of using administrative data from multiple public agencies to evaluate program impacts on important young adult outcomes. Making use of administrative data allows programs to measure participant outcomes across multiple systems and provides the basis for a meaningful index of the well-being of participants after exiting a program.