This study examined social network structure and function among a sample of 460 homeless veterans who participated in an experimental trial of the Housing and Urban Development– Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) program.
Participants were randomly assigned to HUD-VASH (housing subsidies and case management), case management only, or standard care. Mixed-model longitudinal analysis was used to compare treatment groups on social network outcomes over 18 months.
Veterans in HUD-VASH reported significantly greater increases in social support than veterans in the two other groups, as well as greater frequency of contacts, availability of tangible and emotional support, and satisfaction with nonkin relationships over time. These gains largely involved relationships with providers and other veterans encountered in treatment.
Supported housing may play a pivotal role in fostering constructive new relationships with persons associated with service programs but may have a more limited impact on natural support networks.