Online Program

Implementing healthy start in housing: A program to provide prioritized housing to homeless pregnant women

Monday, November 4, 2013

Emily Feinberg, ScD, CPNP, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Deborah Allen, ScD, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Bricia Trejo, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Zhandra Ferreira-Cesar, MPH, Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
This abstract is the second of three abstracts describing Boston's Healthy Start in Housing (HSiH), a collaboration between the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and Boston Housing Authority (BHA). Its focus is an evaluation of HSiH's success to reach and enroll the target population and effectively place and support the women in permanent housing in the program's first year. Given the potential for this program to serve as a model for other public health initiatives, such information is interest to other public health authorities and MCH agencies. We used BPHC and BHA data to assess number of women referred; number eligible; number who completed the BHA application process; and number placed in housing. To date, 168 women were referred to the program, of whom 104 met eligibility criteria. Among eligible women, 58% qualified based on a medical, 56% mental health condition, 14% based prior adverse birth outcome, and 30% had multiple risks. Thirty of the 77 women who completed BHA applications have been awarded housing. Average time to complete application process was 70 days; average time from submission of completed BHA application to housing award was 81 days. Examining implementation in months 1-6 compared to months 7-12, program referrals dropped by >50%, but percent of appropriate referrals increased from 60% to 68%. These data demonstrate the feasibility of the project, the strength of the partnership between a public health and housing authority, and the challenges of early implementation.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the success of Health Start in Housing in its first year of implementation.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working as a research assistant on the evaluation of Health Start in Housing since it began in November of 2011.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.