Research Project

Longitudinal Evaluation Research Project

An integral component for the success of the Real Choice Systems Change grant has been the longitudinal evaluation research project. The project has provided information on consumer perspectives on housing preferences and the availability, access and barriers to appropriate housing in Tennessee.

This evaluation assessed the changing housing and service care needs of 205 consumers from the four regions of Tennessee where there are Consumer Housing Specialists, with at least 50 enrolled from each region. Criteria for enrollment in the study included residence in permanent housing at the baseline interview and psychiatric hospitalization within 12 months prior to baseline. These criteria afforded answers to the question "How well do existing housing options meet consumer-identified needs for individuals in the early stages of recovery?"

Domains the research project examined included health, housing, and quality of life, with emphasis on housing stability and social supports.

The longitudinal study was designed with input from the four Consumer Housing Specialists, who also conducted face-to-face interviews with each study participant at baseline, and at six- and twelve-months. The longitudinal design allowed for analysis of changes over time in key outcomes, including housing stability.

Of the 50 participants from each region studied, 30 were living in non-CHI housing and 20 were living in CHI-funded housing (click here for more information on the Creating Homes Initiative). As CHI seeks to create new and improved housing options, inclusion of CHI-funded housing residents provided insight regarding what is needed to maintain stability and continue recovery from serious mental illness in the community.

Conclusions: The study showed evidence of a high level of residential stability and of satisfaction with housing indicating that housing options nurtured into existence by Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services' (TDMHSAS) CHI project has had a positive effect on housing options for consumers. The relationship between housing stability and housing satisfaction appears to be related to the level of supervision in the housing option, i.e., housing stability was associated with greater satisfaction in housing options that offered higher levels of independence. The interaction between level of supervision, residential stability, satisfaction, social contacts and employment appears to be complex and worthy of further study. The HWR Evaluation provided a number of interesting data. For further results, please contact Bob Currie at 615-532-4651 for a copy of the Housing within Reach Final Report.