Bridges to Housing releases 2009 Mid-Year Evaluation Report

On Thursday, October 8, 2009 Diane Yatchmenoff, Ph.D. of Portland State University’s Regional Research Institute presented the 2009 Mid-Year Evaluation Report to the Bridges to Housing Regional Steering Committee.

This report focuses on the employment experiences of participants currently in Bridges to Housing, and has several interesting results:

  • 45% of heads of households are either employed, pursuing education and/or in a job training program.
  • 66% of those who have been enrolled in Bridges to Housing for 13 to 18 months were either employed, pursuing education and/or in a job training program.

Unfortunately the current economic climate means that employers are less willing to consider potential employees who have poor employment history, a criminal background or other barriers to employment.  Currently, less than one in five (19%) heads of households were currently employed.    Only 14% of heads of households were engaged in a job training program – something we hope to improve on through partnerships with Department of Human Services and WorkSystems, Inc. in the coming months.

The evaluation also reveals that mental illness is the strongest predictor of unemployment: Ten percent of heads of households were currently in jobs, in contrast to 23% of those who are free of mental illness.  This is unsurprising in light of other data – those with mental illness in Bridges to Housing were previously found to be more likely to be among those with early, negative exits from the program. Unfortunately, getting consistent and on-going treatment for Bridges to Housing families is extremely difficult.  Families in Bridges to Housing enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan have both long waiting lists and time limited services for mental illness.

The report also looked at retention of families in the program:

  • 92% of families remained in the program for at least six months, while 74% remained at least twelve months.   47% remain in the program for 18 months or longer. This figure includes both positive and negative exits from the program.

You can download the full report, or see other earlier reports here.

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