Trialing the feasibility of a critical time intervention for youth transitioning out of homelessness

Little is known regarding the specific types of service models and collaborations that are necessary to support diverse populations of youth in transition out of homelessness. Transitional supports addressing the complex needs of this population are needed to stabilize the array of housing arrangements that youth access. This study was a pilot randomized controlled trial of one such critical time intervention, called the Housing Outreach Program—Collaboration (HOP-C). HOP-C is a multicomponent, multidisciplinary intervention that provides 6 months of mental health and peer support, along with transitional case management to youth who have transitioned into some form of stable housing out of homelessness. In this trial, 65 youth were randomized to receive HOP-C plus treatment as usual or transitional case management plus treatment as usual. Outcome assessments were completed by 30 treatment and 28 control participants. The findings suggest that this intervention is feasible with mental health, employment or education, and housing metrics favoring HOP-C with odds ratios ranging from 2.28 to 3.18 and better subjective housing stability. Other indicators showed less change. HOP-C appears feasible and should be tested in a fully powered trial, providing the intervention for a duration longer than 6 months. Overall, these data suggest the potential benefit in fostering city-level, multidisciplinary teams sourced from several organizations to support youth transitioning out of homelessness. Pragmatic trial method considerations for this population are also addressed as are the ethical considerations pertinent to engaging highly marginalized youth in clinical trials. 

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Journal Name: 
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry