No Easy Decisions: Developing an Evidence-Informed Process to Allocate Housing Choice Vouchers to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Kristie Thomas, Jill T. Messing, Allison Ward-Lasher, Allie Bones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    This article describes the development of an evidence-informed screening tool and process to allocate 25 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) to homeless and unstably housed survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) through an innovative pilot program called SASH (Survivors Achieving Stable Housing). Informed by empirical and community-defined evidence, the screening tool comprised two forms, a survivor self-referral form and a form completed by a domestic violence (DV) advocate on the survivor’s behalf. Responses were scored such that higher scores indicated fewer barriers to the SASH definition of housing success (i.e., to lease up with and maintain an HCV). We received 92 applications, primarily from survivors living in DV shelters. Of those, 31 were excluded; the remaining 61 were randomized into either the voucher or the queue group. Survivors needed considerable advocacy from the SASH team to move through the public housing authority application process as well as financial assistance to lease up. Lessons learned during the SASH project have important implications for DV and housing practitioners, especially those involved in developing coordinated entry procedures. These lessons include the utility and feasibility of screening questions and tools, moral dilemmas of resource allocation, and challenges of working across siloed systems and policies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)783-805
    Number of pages23
    JournalHousing Policy Debate
    Volume30
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2 2020

    Keywords

    • Housing Choice Voucher
    • assessment
    • domestic violence
    • homelessness
    • intimate partner violence
    • screening

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Development
    • Urban Studies
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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