Approaches to evaluation of homelessness interventions



Pauly B, Wallace B & Perkin K (2014) Approaches to evaluation of homelessness interventions. Housing, Care and Support, 17 (4), pp. 177-187.

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide rationale, methodological guidance and clarity in the use of case study designs and theory driven approaches to evaluation of interventions to end homelessness. Design/methodology/approach - Using an evaluation of a transitional shelter program aiming to support permanent exits from homelessness as an example, the authors show how case study designs and theory driven evaluation is well suited to the study of the effectiveness of homelessness interventions within the broader socio-political and economic context in which they are being implemented. Findings - Taking account of the context as part of program evaluation and research on homelessness interventions moves away from blaming programs and individuals for systemic failures to better understanding of how the context influences successes and failures. Case study designs are particularly useful for studying implementation and the context which influences program outcomes. Theory driven evaluations and the use of realist evaluation as an approach can provide a broader understanding of how homelessness interventions work particularly for whom and under what conditions. These methodological and theoretical approaches provide a consistent strategy for evaluating programs aimed at ending homelessness. Originality/value - There is a need for greater capacity in the homelessness sector to apply approaches to evaluation that take into account the broader socio-political and economic context in which programs are being implemented. Through the use of a case example, the authors provide guidance for application of case study design and theory driven approaches as a strategy for approaches programs aimed at ending homelessness.

Case study; Homelessness; Housing First; Housing interventions; Theory driven evaluation; Transitional housing; Transitional shelter

Housing, Care and Support: Volume 17, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2014

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Professor Bernadette Pauly

Professor Bernadette Pauly

Honorary Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences